The first Obama White House Twitter town hall---nicknamed a Tweet-up---takes place 2 p.m. est Wednesday from the East Room at the White House. If you want to submit a question, it's hashtag #askObama.
The @whitehouse Twitter account has 2.25 million followers--and Obama team members use Twitter all the time to chat, break news or take the temperature of their Twitterverse.
At a Tuesday conference call White House communications chief Dan Pfeiffer and Macon Phillips, White House Director of Digital Strategy offerered a preview:
Pfeiffer: "At tomorrow's event, the president will take questions from
Twitter users from across the country, primarily around jobs and the
economy. Twitter cofounder and executive chairman Jack Dorsey will
moderate the conversation. And we've also invited several @whitehouse
followers through what we're referring to as a -- our first-ever
Phillips: "We're really excited about the event overall, and certainly
this part in particular. We put out an opportunity to all of the
people who follow the @whitehouse account to let us know if they
wanted to come to the event tomorrow. We're going to have about 30
people from around the country who are going to be there in the
audience, and they'll also be tweeting about, you know, what they're
seeing, sort of what the event's like, so that everybody else can
"And after the event, we're actually going to set aside some time
for them to meet with some senior administration officials, as well as
some representatives from Twitter, just to discuss the social media,
and also just to get their views on what they've heard in the event
and about policies generally.
"And that gets -- sort of gets to the larger point: The purpose
of doing this event is to try to find new opportunities to connect
with Americans around the country. And so whether we're inviting them
here to the White House through this tweet-up, or whether we're using
a social media platform like Twitter to get out of D.C., we're really
excited to bring in new voices to the conversation with the president,
and are particularly excited about the format of tomorrow's event,
which I think will take advantage of the real-time nature of Twitter
to actually have a conversation and a set of questions that evolves as
the president's speaking and as people are watching live.
Thousand of questions have been submitted so far, Phillips said.
"All the questions are using the hashtag #askObama. And so you can kind of keep track there. You can
run a search query, you know, on the hashtag and kind of see the
volume. I think Twitter is working, again, with its partners to do
much more comprehensive analytics, and we're looking forward to seeing
some of the reporting on that. But just from our -- from my sort of
anecdotal checking in on the volume here, we're seeing thousands and
thousands of uses of that. Some people are just republishing other
people's questions and sort of indicating that they agree with that,
other people are asking questions that are originals themselves, and
so it's hard to tell you exactly. But we're really encouraged by
participation even with a full day remaining before the event."