CNN and other news outlets across the US were falling over themselves today to report on how President Obama sent his first tweet yesterday. However, don’t expect regular updates on life in the Oval Office and short missives about getting prank calls from some oddly-accented lady asking if he can see Russia from his house.
Instead of setting up his own account though, Obama stopped at the headquarters of the American Red Cross’ to promote aid to Haiti, when a member of the agency’s new media team wrote a message on Twitter.com telling people he had arrived.
Reports CNN, the Red Cross staffer wrote “President Obama and the first lady are here visiting our disaster operation center right now” after which the young upstart actually asked the president to hit ‘update’ on the screen. And like that, Obama posted the item himself under the @RedCross handle at Twitter.com.
The Excited Red Cross staff member then posted a follow-up tweet telling everyone: “President Obama pushed the button on the last tweet. It was his first ever tweet!”
White House aides told CNN they believe it is Obama’s first-ever tweet. During the presidential campaign, the Obama team used the @BarackObama account to send out quick messages in the then-senator’s voice, but he did not physically post the items himself, a disappointment to some of his techie supporters.
The vast majority of White House personnel are actually restricted from using social media sites like Facebook and Twitter. “There are security concerns with White House computers, and administration officials are also not supposed to be tweeting on taxpayer time,” said CNN.