Obama sent his first tweet on Monday morning, implying that he’d been hoping to join the Twitterverse for some time now.
Hello, Twitter! It's Barack. Really! Six years in, they're finally giving me my own account.
— President Obama (@POTUS44) May 18, 2015
Does this mean we’re allowed to call him Barack? And who is “they”? And why now? Many questions, few answers. We will update you as the details unfold.
You might be confused right now, because the @BarackObama account has existed for a long time. Confusing! Here’s the thing: The @BarackObama account is run by Organizing for Action, Obama’s official nonprofit advocacy group. There’s also a White House account, which is general news from his administration (as opposed to the president himself).
Despite clear explanations in the bios of those two accounts, people still do not understand the distinction. After a tweet from @BarackObama last year referenced “House of Cards,” Twitter users and media outlets alike were abuzz that the president himself was commenting on the Netflix original.
Tomorrow: @HouseOfCards. No spoilers, please.
— Barack Obama (@BarackObama) February 13, 2014
There was a time when The Real Barack Obama did send some tweets from this account, which he’d sign “–BO” at the end. (Those tweets now come from the official, verified @WhiteHouse account.) These days, @BarackObama is nothing more than a mouthpiece for a 501(c)(4) non-profit that, for some reason, gets to trade on the name of the president.
As of publication, Obama had amassed more than 240,000 followers in less than an hour. And his first tweet has received more than 49,000 retweets—nearly five times the number 2016 Democratic frontrunner Hillary Clinton‘s first tweet received in nearly two years.
— Hillary Clinton (@HillaryClinton) June 10, 2013
If we are to infer correctly from Obama’s inaugural tweet, he will be running the @POTUS account on his own.
Will he tweet from the Oval Office? Or from the Situation Room? Or from the toilet, just like the rest of it? This all remains to be seen. Regardless, it should be #interesting.