The people tweet, the president listens

Twitter users weigh in with questions directed to the President


Fernando Alfonso III


Published Jul 6, 2011   Updated Jun 3, 2021, 4:07 am CDT

President Barack Obama may only have answered a handful of questions at the first presidential Twitter town hall meeting but that didn’t stop the tweets from pouring in Wednesday afternoon.

The number of tweets with #askobama, the hashtag used to submit questions to the president, was 169,395, Twitter’s Jodi Olson said in an e-mail.

The four topic areas that received the most tweets were:

Jobs – 18,957
Budget – 15,000
Taxes – 14,777
Education – 8,833

It was a special moment for the few people who had their questions answered by Obama.

Lane Morrison, a 22-year-old graduate student at the University of Alabama, never expected his question on the deficit problem to get chosen.

“I submitted the question thinking that it would get lost in all of the thousands of tweets that were submitted,” said Morrison in an interview with The Daily Dot. “I wasn’t even watching the town hall because I had forgotten what time it came on.”

“It felt like I was getting to speak directly to the president of the United States. As long as I live I may never get to do that again.”

Morrison felt that Obama answered his question honestly.

Patrick Glynn, 21, a student at Randolph College in Lynchburg, Va., felt the same way. Obama answered his question on collective bargaining rights.

“I would have liked to see him stand behind his campaign promise to help those whose collective bargaining rights have been infringed upon at the hands of government,” said Glynn in an interview with The Daily Dot. “But the President did stand by the idea that collective bargaining is essential.”

Overall, Twitter proved to be an ideal medium for the president to share his thoughts and opinions on a range of topics, Morrison said.

Twitter users posed “ concise, targeted questions (under 140 characters) about important issues,” Morrison said. “This setting also allows for a more diverse group of questions from a more diverse group of people than would be in a regular town hall setting.”

Share this article
*First Published: Jul 6, 2011, 12:41 pm CDT