The Obama administration has launched an archive to preserve the social media legacy of the first social media president of the United States.
President Barack Obama was the first U.S. president to win the presidency in part by harnessing the power of social media, and because much of his tenure coincided with the rise of Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Snapchat, his administration’s use of those tools was unprecedented.
The White House is embracing that legacy, announcing this week an archive with more than 250,000 posts, photos and videos from official Obama White House social media profiles.
“The content in this archive is being made available in the interest of historical preservation and transparency,” the administration says.
The posts, which also include those from Pinterest, Flickr and Google+, are searchable by date, content type and source.
In addition, the administration shared links to other tools that might make Obama fans and/or students of history nostalgic, including an accounting of memes, GIFs and Vines related to his presidency.
Obama’s embrace of social media wasn’t without controversy. Some critics said the tools allowed him to bypass the press and their questions. The Associated Press notes that Obama held about 21 press conferences a year, fewer than his three predecessors, George H.W. Bush (34 a year), Bill Clinton (24) and George W. Bush (26).
As the nation prepares for a new presidential administration whose use of Twitter and other social media is picking up right where Obama left off, a Washington Post piece from 2015 examining Obama’s use of social media predicted the future, and it’s here:
The White House can reach more people without the filter of the traditional media, target its audience with precision and receive almost immediate feedback. But the approach raises the prospect of fostering further political polarization if the president opts to communicate mostly with parts of the electorate that identify with him ideologically or can be helpful politically.
That’s social media for you.
Above: Screen shot of President Obama’s Twitter account.