Choosing Technology or the Personal Touch?

If you want to share your thoughts with the president, is it better to go through social media or send a letter? Here's a closer look.

Reaching Obama through Social Media vs. a Letter

The current administration offers a ton of ways that American citizens can get in touch with President Obama. In fact, during Obama's initial race for president as well as his reelection campaign, he gained wide media coverage over the fact that he was so connected via social media. If this is the case, though, why not just send him a tweet rather than writing a letter?

The President's Online Presence

President Obama's website is run by one of the three founders of Facebook, so you know it's serious. Part information hub and part social network, the site offers a number of online tools for members, from uploading photos to connecting with others and even starting individual blogs. Members can set up profiles during the account as well; over two million member accounts were created during the initial 2008 campaign.

The site also allows members to locate other likely Obama supporters and incorporate that information for use in real-life volunteer efforts as well as online community building exercises. Currently, the site is used to continue informing visitors about the latest policy news. While its purpose as an information springboard is undeniable, the website isn't the best means of connecting with President Obama directly.

Social Media Avenues

What about Facebook or Twitter, the platforms that are designed specifically for easily connecting with politicians and other celebrity-status public figures? President Obama has active accounts on both of these social media outlets, and millions of friends and followers (respectively) on each.

Although President Obama does periodically send tweets from his official Twitter account (and sometimes from the official White House account as well), these are always designated by his initials at the end. The majority of communications via Twitter are posted by his staff, not by him directly. While this isn't to say that you can't connect with President Obama through Twitter, it's generally accepted that he simply isn't as personally active on his account now that he's busy doing things like running the country.

As for his Facebook page, it's used mostly to keep followers updated with media appearances, as well as posting photos and quotes taken from recent events. Again, while those who friend Barack Obama can leave comments on posts, they're addressed by the group Organizing for Action rather than by the president himself.

Reaching Out

So what is the best way to connect directly with the president, if not through his website or social media? The official White House website recommends sending emails to President Obama. However, a lot of media coverage has been granted to the president's "purple folder," in which his staff set aside 10 physical letters per day for him to read. The president's preference for physical letters has also been mentioned a few times, and is also evidenced by his practice of responding to many of these chosen letters from American citizens with a handwritten note.

One thing the administration is adamant about, however, is that the American people feel encouraged to communicate in an open and honest way with this president, so whether you send a tweet, post a Facebook comment, type a quick email or write a physical letter, you can feel confident that reaching out is always a good thing.