What happens to Obama’s @POTUS tweets when he’s done? The White House reveals all

potus social media white house
Whether it’s Trump or Clinton, the 45th of President of the United States is set to take control of all the social media accounts that now come with the job.

After Obama took office in 2009, he became the first American leader to truly embrace social media, his administration opening a slew of accounts to engage more effectively with the U.S. electorate and wider world. Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat, Twitter, Periscope, YouTube, Vimeo – the White House is on them all.

Digital transition

So what of the digital transition in the coming months, when the new president takes office? As this’ll be the first changeover since the social media explosion, the White House has decided to draw up a list of plans explaining how it wants to make the transition as smooth as possible.

Deputy chief digital officer Kori Schulman said in a blog post this week that while all of the accounts will be passed on to the next president, not everything will be as it was.

For example, @POTUS on Twitter will keep all of its 11.1 million followers though the timeline will be emptied. But don’t fret, they won’t be trashing all of Obama’s tweets from the account. Instead, the National Archives and Records Administration will archive each and every post on a new @POTUS44 account to preserve the material for future generations.

“The archive belongs to the American people,” Schulman said.

The same will go for other Twitter handles, including @WhiteHouse, @FLOTUS, @PressSec, and @VP, with all the accounts archived with new “44” usernames. The administration’s other online accounts, such as Instagram, Flickr, YouTube, and Tumblr, will also be updated with the same kind of username.

And the changes won’t just affect the administration’s social media accounts. “Similar to the Clinton and Bush White House websites, President Obama’s WhiteHouse.gov will be preserved on the web and frozen after January 20th and made available at ObamaWhiteHouse.gov.,” Schulman explained, adding that the incoming administration will receive the WhiteHouse.gov domain.

The deputy chief digital officer promised his team will share all of the Obama administration’s social media content in an easily accessible and comprehensive way, and is keen for people to make the most of its availability.

“We’re inviting the American public – from students and data engineers, to artists and researchers – to come up with creative ways to archive this content and make it both useful and available for years to come,” Schulman wrote. “From Twitter bots and art projects to printed books and query tools, we’re open to it all. The White House will make our social media data available early to people who are interested in building something for the public.”

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