The new @POTUS Twitter account for President Donald Trump is shown in this frame grab, Friday, Jan. 20, 2017. The technological transition came just as Trump took the oath Friday, giving him a clean digital slate. The White House’s official Twitter and Facebook accounts were quickly scrubbed and rebranded. It’s the first time social media accounts have been a part of the transition. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite, Pool)
For the first time, social media is included in transfer of presidential power
January 24, 2017
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Donald Trump built his campaign on early morning tweets and hashtag-worthy slogans. Now he is the president. So he's in control of the White House's powerful social media arsenal. It includes the official @POTUS Twitter account. It has nearly 14 million followers.
The technological transition came just as Trump took the oath of office Jan. 20. It gave him a clean digital slate. Meanwhile, hundreds of tweets and posts made during President Barack Obama's time in office have been preserved.
The White House's official Twitter and Facebook accounts were quickly purged. They were rebranded for the new administration. This was the first time social media accounts have been a part of the transition.
Trump didn't rush to use the @POTUS account.
Trump sent his first tweets as president from @realDonaldTrump. It is his personal account. That is where his thousands of candid-on-everything posts, from immigration to golf course conditions, helped propel him into a political force.
"We will bring back our jobs. We will bring back our borders. We will bring back our wealth - and we will bring back our dreams!" Trump told his 21 million followers about an hour into his presidency.
A few hours later, the @POTUS account sprung to life. There was a photo of Trump being introduced at the swearing-in ceremony. There was a link to a Facebook post on the occasion. The same image appeared on the White House's Instagram account.
Tweets generated during the Obama administration have been archived. They were moved to separate accounts. These included @FLOTUS44, @VP44 and @ObamaWhiteHouse.
The same went for official White House accounts on Facebook, Instagram, Medium, Tumblr and YouTube.
Turning over social media accounts is a modern twist on the complex presidential transition. It is the 21st century version of handing over the keys to the Oval Office.
The White House's digital transition plans were announced a week before the election. They stressed that the National Archives would preserve social media content. The Archives would do it in a similar fashion as paper records.
Twitter helped transition White House accounts on its platform. Twitter said anyone who started following POTUS during Obama's presidency would automatically start following POTUS44, too.
"Citizens and their elected leaders around the world have come to rely on Twitter as an instantaneous, direct means of communication," Twitter's Colin Crowell said. "The transparency and accountability that this global, open Twitter conversation fosters are a benefit to all. And we're glad to see today's smooth @POTUS transition."
Obama presided over the White House's push into social media. The first official White House account was @whitehouse. It was created in April 2009. That was his third month in office. The @POTUS account didn't come around until June 2013.
Obama sent a farewell tweet from @POTUS on Jan. 20. He followed up a few hours later. That one came from his @BarackObama account.
"Hi everybody! Back to the original handle," Obama wrote. "Is this thing still on?"
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CRITICAL THINKING QUESTION
Why did Donald Trump want to continue using @realdonaldtrump?
Write your answers in the comments section below