The President’s Twitter Town Hall

President Obama is going to hold a twitter town hall. Except, as the Post asks, “what will the discussion look like when participants are limited to 140 characters, the questions are filtered and the president isn’t typing?” Uhm…right then.

I also love that the Post uses the following quote to capture what can happen on twitter:

“It’s like drinking out of a fire hose,” said Alan Webber, an analyst at media consulting firm Altimeter Group. “These are hardly one-on-one conversations.”

No kidding. If anything, the fire hose analogy is one I’ve used frequently to describe twitter, particularly on Sunday nights when I join #blogchat.

So what exactly will the point of this exercise be? As a recently minted citizen, but one who’s spent over half her life watching the ongoing American democratic experiment as an outsider, I’d like to look at this as an opportunity for people to simply have at. You know, speak up, with no barriers whatsoever. Yes we do that anyway, but does any one actually hear anything past a certain point? Probably not. But for those of us who do use twitter, there’s no getting away from the re-tweet. And that’s where the average twitter-using citizen may feel like s/he has some form of agency and voice short of the ballot in November 2012.

#askobama Comedy Gold

The President may choose to answer certain questions and ignore the vast majority. But the unanswered , pointed, unfriendly, unveiled, antagonistic, or uh, odd and comic questions aren’t going to disappear or go unaired. And this being twitter, people are already not holding back.

The economy, foreign policy, Libya….people have a voice and they’re asking questions. Some of which will quite likely be re-tweeted who knows how many times.

My favorite tweet so far is one that probably speaks to what’s got the White House’s opposition research and the staffs of the Daily Show and Colbert Report busy. Ronald Kushner writes:

Are you a big enough control freak to actually read all these messages? #askobama

It’s a good question. In the time it’s taken me to put up this post (20 to write, 20 to place and hyperlink) the #askobama thread has gone from about 250 to nearly 2000.

Happy scrolling.

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