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Obama, Romney take to Reddit and Twitter as election goes social

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On Wednesday, President Obama sat down for a virtual town hall on Reddit, the social media news and sharing site.

In his r/IAmA chat, he took on a variety of questions, from money in politics, to his toughest decisions to net freedom concerns.

Here's a sample of the fare:

[-]gobearss 1337 points 18 hours ago

ow do you balance family life and hobbies with, well, being the POTUS?

[-]PresidentObamaObama[S] 2137 points 17 hours ago

t's hard - truthfully the main thing other than work is just making sure that I'm spending enough time with michelle and the girls. The big advantage I have is that I live above the store - so I have no commute! So we make sure that when I'm in DC I never miss dinner with them at 6:30 pm - even if I have to go back down to the Oval for work later in the evening. I do work out every morning as well, and try to get a basketball or golf game in on the weekends just to get out of the bubble. Speaking of balance, though, I need to get going so I'm back in DC in time for dinner. But I want to thank everybody at reddit for participating - this is an example of how technology and the internet can empower the sorts of conversations that strengthen our democracy over the long run. AND REMEMBER TO VOTE IN NOVEMBER - if you need to know how to register, go to Gottaregister.com. By the way, if you want to know what I think about this whole reddit experience - NOT BAD!

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That "NOT BAD" signoff, by the way, is a sly reference to the Obama "Rage Face" meme that has been popular with Redditors. The one pictured was posted by Redditor thrsdy.

The Washington Post has a breakdown on how the traffic for the Q&A was - enough to seize up the site at one point:

  • -- 3.8 million page views on the first page of the Obama Q&A
  • -- 2.6 million unique page views on the first page (and still going)
  • -- Over 22,000 comments. To be more exact, 23,082 as of 11:25 a.m., Eastern Thursday.
Obama has used YouTube and Google+ in the past to take questions as well.

Meanwhile, Mitt Romney's camp will be taking to Twitter Thursday when he makes his acceptance speech for the Republican nomination for president. It's not unusual that politicians hit the Twittersphere anymore, but the way Romney's campaign is doing it is new - via a sponsored, or purchased, trending topic hashtag.

Twitter confirmed to The Verge that this is the first time a candidate has bought a trend.

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While President Obama took to Reddit and the Romney campaign concentrated on hastags, a new front opened on the social media political war, answering a gauntlet thrown down by Clint Eastwood. Eastwood spent much of his unusual speech/riff/standup Thur... Read More

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