White House Prepares to Hand Over @POTUS to the Next POTUS
Every president has faced a different set of challenges when it comes to transitioning to the next administration. But President Obama faces an altogether unique one: figuring out what happens to all his tweets, Instagram posts, and other social media accounts. After all, once he’s no longer POTUS, he can no longer be @POTUS.
Today the White House presented its plan for turning over the Obama administration’s myriad social media accounts on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and more. Accounts like @POTUS on Twitter and the White House’s Facebook page will belong to the next president and his or her staff, but they’ll start fresh. That means all those photos of Bo and Sunny chilling on the White House lawn will be scrubbed to make room for the next First Dog. But because these tweets and posts are technically a matter of public record, they’ll be stored within the National Archives and Records Administration alongside, you know, the Declaration of Independence and the Bill of Rights.
That President Obama is the first president to have such a digital legacy to preserve is a reminder of how much technology has changed in the last eight years. The iPhone debuted just a year before President Obama was elected and just two years after Twitter was invented, making him the first and only @POTUS we’ve ever had. Obama’s 2008 campaign was innovative for its use of social media to communicate with voters. Today in the age of all-night Donald Trump tweet storms, such disintermediated niceties seem positively quaint.