Mr President, aka ‘POTUS’, makes Twitter debut

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It’s been common knowledge for many years that the Secret Service’s code names for the President of the United States and his First Lady were POTUS and FLOTUS.

Yesterday, that open secret made it onto Twitter, as Barack Obama made his debut with a 140-character quip: ‘Hello, Twitter! It’s Barack. Really! Six years in, they’re finally giving me my own account’.

Why it’s taken him so long to enter the Twitter fold is one for Obama, or the Secret Service, to answer – particularly as the ‘lame duck’ President has nothing to gain in the popularity, or voting stakes, as other presidential hopefuls gear up for the primaries in early 2016.

Obama will also have to make good use of @POTUS while he can, as the other ‘Mr President’, Bill Clinton, replied (in a slightly tongue-in-cheek tone): ‘Welcome to @Twitter, @POTUS! One question: Does that username stay with the office? #askingforafriend’. He has a good point!

No doubt the President will rack up millions of followers (three tweets and already 1,079,147 followers on day one), as he attempts to bring a personal and approachable touch to the White House and the Democratic camp. My question is: why now and why not six years ago?

David Cameron has been using the social media platform for a number of years, posting nearly 2,000 tweets in an attempt to reach ‘the people’. Clearly the Blackberry-loving President, who’s apparently borrowing an iPhone to tweet the world, is only just realising the potential that seemingly transparent and close contact communication can bring to a high profile politician.

The most savvy political commentators predict that he’ll make a much more effective ex-President, than a serving President – perhaps a healthy Twitter profile might just hold him in good stead.