President Barack Obama – I’m going to continue referring to him by that title as long as I legitimately can – came to office at a time when social media was really taking off in a big way. He’s the first president to really need a digital archive, and as of today, he has one.
The Obama White House Social Media Archive contains more than 250,000 searchable posts, photos and videos shared through more than 100 official White House social media accounts. Obama will also be relinquishing the @POTUS Twitter account to Donald Trump, but his tweets will not be lost forever. All tweets written from the official president’s desk will be transferred over to a new account – @POTUS44 – and another project, @Relive44, will republish every one of Obama’s presidential tweets from various sources exactly eight years after they were posted, starting on May 1 2017. Spoiler: rather underwhelmingly, the first one will read: “Welcome to the official Twitter page for the White House!”
President Obama’s first tweet was on 5/1/09. Starting on 5/1/17, this account will reenact his @whitehouse and @potus tweets in real time!
— Relive 44 (@Relive44) December 21, 2016
The White House has other interesting plans to mark the digital transition between one president and another. These include essays examining internet culture associated with Obama’s stay (“Thanks, Obama”; First Lady’s Turnip vine; and the #LoveWins hashtags), an archive of White House GIFs, and detailed analysis of presidential tweets from MIT Media Lab’s Electome group – comparing them to regular citizens, and seeing how topics fluctuated over the past eight years.
One (currently) regular citizen has a Twitter account that Obama’s bears little resemblance to. While there’s no official government involvement, president-elect Donald Trump’s notoriously erratic tweets are currently being archived in the equally searchable Trump Tweet Archive as we go along. The homepage reports that there are 55 tweets containing the phrase “haters and losers” including this little gem:
Sorry losers and haters, but my I.Q. is one of the highest -and you all know it! Please don’t feel so stupid or insecure,it’s not your fault
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) May 9, 2013
At the time of writing, no Obama posts use that phrase. Still time, I suppose.