You’d think that after the Anthony Weiner scandal, the last thing any politician would want to do was tweet. But on Sunday, Barack Obama joined the twittering class by tapping out a Father’s Day message with his very own Presidential fingers. “Being a father is sometimes my hardest but always my most rewarding job,” he typed. “Happy Father’s Day to all the dads out there.” The message was signed “BO.”
The President’s hands-on approach to Twitter — as opposed to simply having an assistant craft messages under his name — is part of his re-election campaign strategy; he’ll reportedly be doing a lot more of it as the campaign heats up (always signing his personal tweets with his initials). It’s smart politics, a modern-day fireside chat, and a way for Obama to reach out and personally touch base with his 8.6 million Twitter followers. But, of course, he’s hardly the only presidential candidate (official or presumed) tweeting these days. Former Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich actually announced his candidacy on Twitter back in May; Sarah Palin has been tweeting for at least a year; and even Texas governor Rick Perry has been getting into the act, although he hasn’t quite mastered the lingo yet (“You can always follow me on Tweeter,” he told supporters at a rally last weekend).
Still, it has to be asked, is tweeting really the best use of presidential time? What’s next? Is Obama going on Facebook to play Farmville? Or fiddling with Angry Birds during cabinet meetings?