The Washington Post

Obama turns to social network LinkedIn to help sell jobs plan

Watch Obama’s LinkedIn town hall live at 2:00 p.m. Eastern here.

SAN JOSE, Calif. — Can social media help save the economy?

President Obama hopes so, which is why he will appear in Mountain View, Calif., on Monday to preside over a town hall-style event in conjunction with LinkedIn, an online social network for business professionals.

Obama will talk about his $447 billion American Jobs Act and answer questions about the economy from a studio audience and LinkedIn Chief Executive Jeff Weiner, who has solicited questions from network users.

With employment at 9.1 percent, Obama has proposed a jobs package that includes a mix of tax cuts, infrastructure spending and direct aid to state and local governments. But Republicans have been skeptical about large portions of the plan, and the president has embarked on a cross-country tour to win public support for the plan.

“No one expects everyone to understand the depth of policy questions,” said Macon Phillips, the director of the White House’s Office of Digital Strategy. “We fully expect people to have valid concerns about how to move the country forward. The event Monday will address those questions.”

The event, titled “Putting Americans Back to Work,” is the latest attempt of the Obama administration to leverage fast-growing social media networks to sell its agenda. The president’s campaign Twitter account, with 10.2 million followers, is the third most popular on that network, behind only pop singers Lady Gaga and Justin Bieber.

Obama has more than 23 million fans on Facebook.

Now, the president is trying to tap into LinkedIn’s community of 120 million users who post resumes on the site and network with colleagues and friends of colleagues to find new jobs or engage in business partnerships.

“The social fabric of our platform is the key,” Weiner said. “When a job is posted, you can see who you know up to three degrees [removed]. . . . It helps get your foot in the door of opportunity.”

The town hall event comes in the middle of seven fundraising events over two days for Obama, who attended four Sunday and has three more Monday in San Diego, Calif., and Los Angeles.

The forum will be streamed live on the Washington Post at 2 p.m. You can watch it then on 44.


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Watch: Obama’s LinkedIn forum

David Nakamura covers the White House. He has previously covered sports, education and city government and reported from Afghanistan, Pakistan and Japan.


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