Business, Economics and Jobs

Obama's online Town Hall a tweet in the Twitter haystack? Updates


U.S. President Barack Obama posts a Tweet during an online Twitter town hall meeting from the East Room of the White House.


Brendan Smialowski



Tens of thousands of people submitted questions via Twitter to President Barack Obama on Wednesday, under the #AskObama Twitter hashtag, but only a fraction were let through.

Ttweetmeister Jack Dorsey, Twitter co-founder and the event moderator (better known on Twitter as @jack), was only able to ask Obama 18 questions, followed by a few "suggestions" from the Twitter audience, CNN reports.

Raw numbers from TwitSprout put that at about 0.045 percent of all questions posed online before and during the presidents Q&A, based on figures showing that an estimated Twitter users posted 40,000 questions for the president.

Two of the questions reportedly came from public figures — House Speaker John Boehner and New York Times columnist Nicholas Kristof.

Obama, "known for his lengthy responses to the shortest of questions," opted to answer questions verbally, avoiding the need to keep to Twitter’s 140-character limit.

The president reportedly sat on a stage with two TV monitors, one with the text of Twitter questions on it and another that showed a map of the U.S., covered in dots indicating where questions — 10 of them reportedly posted hours before the event — were coming from.

(Follow the leader: See the Top 25 most powerful world leaders according to social media)

Obama was supposed to take questions on the economy and jobs — and perhaps subjects as diverse as Libya, women in math and science, and marijuana legalization — during the White House "tweetup." A tweetup is considered an informal meeting of people who use Twitter.

Bloomberg reported that:

Dorsey, Obama and those following the event will be able to see what topics and Twitter trends are driving the conversation in which regions of the country and which individual questions are generating the most interest.

In a Twitter posting Tuesday, Republican National Committee chairman Reince Priebus made clear what issue he would focus on: "With 9.1% unemployment, what would you want to know?”

With more than 30 million Likes and followers, Obama has so much social media clout he has been rendered a statistical anomaly compared to other world leaders according to research by GlobalPost.

Explore the social media power of world leaders: GlobalPost Social Media Power Rankings