Opinions: Politically Correct?: Shocked by Obama social networking

Opinions: Politically Correct?: Shocked by Obama social networking

Casey Walker

Every week day, when I get home from school, I open up my laptop. I go through a natural progression of checking my facebook, Twitter, blog and news sources.

My finds are usually always the same: facebook and Twitter updates about the school day and news stories about newly released political statements and foreign issues.

But when I checked my Twitter, Aug. 29 I found something shocking and unusal.

President Barack Obama tweeted, “Hey everyone: I’ll be taking your questions online today. Ask yours here:” with a link added.

Curious, I followed the link. It didn’t take me to his facebook page with over 28 million followers nor did it redirect me to another tweet on his Twitter account that has over 19 million followers.

The link took me to Reddit, a social news website that is often referred to as “the front page of the Internet” (as the website’s subtitle reads). AKA a website filled with cat memes and political puns.

I was entirely surprised when I saw a thread that stated “Hi I’m Barack Obama, President of the United States.” I thought I was being punk’d; how could the President of the United States be on a social website doing an Ask Me Anything?

To confirm my doubts and everyone else’s on the website, the thread was verified by Reddit monitors and admins to authorize that this was–in fact–the President. Later, a picture was tweeted of Obama sitting in front of a computer for further confirmation.

The President stayed on Reddit for about 30 minutes and answered 10 questions regarding his family life, troops overseas and Internet freedom.

I stared at my computer in amazement all 30 minutes.

Seeing this Reddit thread was like a watching a pet do a trick for the first time. I’m an avid Obama supporter, but I’ve never seen a politician do anything on a website so substantial to my age group.

It doesn’t matter if you’re a Republican, Democrat or independent. It’s awesome that our president was on Reddit.

And it’s not just awesome because it’s Obama sitting on a computer typing away at Reddit, it’s actually helping his campaign, too.

Obama is the first president to integrate his campaign into the cyber age.

Social networking is vital for a president or candidate who is focused on bringing in a younger demographic since, according to a Pew Research Center Internet and American Life Project’s survey, 96% of people ages 18-29 use the Internet.

So many people visited Obama’s Reddit thread that the server froze like grid lock traffic during rush hour.

Obama being on Reddit also furthered his stance on Internet freedom. Reddit was one of the sites who “blacked out”  to protest the Stop Online Privacy Act last year by replacing the sites content with a message about the conseqences of SOPA. Obama has said that he will fight hard to protect Internet freedom and protect the rights of sites like Reddit.

Obama made a smart, tactical move to go onto Reddit. A president going on a current social website shows his willingness to relate to the masses.

He’s also intergrating more technology into his campign with his Obama 2012 app for smartphones. Romney has also used social networking as a campaign tactic by creating his own Romney App for Apple and Android.

The Internet is something a large demographic in America loves and wants to protect. So, it’s huge that Obama is standing up and putting himself in the middle of it.

The Internet-savvy generation needs to connect to politics in a new way. Obama is recognizing that the Internet and social networking are crucial in this election. And to adapt to the changing times, he’s shaping his campaign around it.