As the low-down, dirty slugfest that is the current US presidential race is set to reach a brutal climax on November 8th, the real question the world has been asking is: “What happens to the presidential Twitter account?” Thankfully, the White House has revealed its plans for Barack Obama’s successor.
Come Inauguration Day, set to take place on January 20th 2017, Hillary Clinton or Donald Trump won’t just be getting their hands on the keys to the Oval Office – they’ll also be taking over the official @POTUS account.
However, it comes with a catch: the Twitter stream of the President of the United States of America will be wiped clean. This may not be the setback it seems. As embracing of social media as Barak Obama has been, the current most powerful man in the world has only tweeted 371 times from his @POTUS account at the time of writing. Still, he has amassed a following of more than 11.1 million followers.
Obama’s tweets won’t just disappear into the digital ether. Instead, they will be archived by America’s National Archives and Records Administration under a new handle of @POTUS44.
It’s not just his Twitter feed that will be preserved for posterity, either. His Instagram and Facebook accounts, together with other official social media presences like his wife Michelle’s @FLOTUS account and Vice President Joe Biden’s @VP handle, will also go into cold storage.
This measure is unprecedented for the White House, and is attributable to the explosion in popularity of social media during Obama’s term in office. Kori Schulman, the deputy chief digital officer for the President, said:
“This digital infrastructure is an asset not just for the next president, but for all future presidents to build off of.
“From tweets to snaps, all of the material we’ve published online will be preserved with NARA just as previous administrations have done with records ranging from handwritten notes to faxes and emails.”
The new president will not be duty bound to take over the account. It has been stated that the handle will be “made available”, meaning that either Hillary Clinton or Donald Trump may continue to use their own, established accounts.
Senator Clinton is hot on the heels of the incumbent with a following of 10.1 million Twitter users, but is way ahead in her usage. At the time of writing, she has more than 9,500 tweets under her belt. However, Trump is a notoriously prolific tweeter, when he is not vexing Scots by building golf courses on the country’s glens and lowlands. The reality TV star has a following of 12.9 million, and has tweeted nearly 40,000 times. It seems that all of those 3:00 AM tweeting frenzies have paid off for him.
Should the previously unthinkable happen, and Trump ascends to power in the next few days, we at the Online Learning Academy wouldn’t blame him if he decided to keep @realDonaldTrump given the social media clout he wields.