Presidential Transition: Here’s What Will Happen to the @POTUS Accounts When Obama Leaves the White House
While studying for my marketing degree in 2011, one of the biggest talking points was the 2008 election and how Barack Obama was the first nominee to fully utilise social media to help him win the race to the White House.
So, 8 years after his historic win, it is time for Barack Obama to leave the Oval Office. But by doing so, what will happen to his online social media @POTUS accounts?
Everything Will Be Preserved
The White House has thought quite deeply about this. It has decided that the @POTUS Twitter handle will be given to the next President of the United States – Donald Trump. That means the @POTUS Twitter profile will retain its 11 million followers, although expect a mass unfollowing between result day and inauguration.
However, before the handle is passed onto the president in waiting, all tweets will be erased from the timeline. Not to worry, they will be preserved and archived onto another Twitter timeline named @POTUS44 by NARA (National Archives and Records Administration). It is not yet known whether the White House is working with Twitter to add the original time of posting to each archived tweet.
Other Social Accounts
Similar to the Clinton and Bush’s White House websites, Obama’s website will be preserved on the NARA website (if anyone wants a blast from the past, here’s what Clinton’s White House website looked like in 1995). However, with constantly changing technology, will the web languages, such as HTML5 or Flash, on Obama’s website still work in 10/20/50 years’ time?
ZIP File Access, Possibly?
On top of having Obama’s entire timelines available, the White House is wanting citizens of the USA to submit their content of their memorable moments during Obama’s presidency – similar to a digital time capsule. There is some dispute about how this will work – will it simply be a website or a downloadable ZIP file? We will know closer to the inauguration.
The White House admits that this digital transition is “unprecedented” and they’re right. It’ll take a long time to archive and re-post 8 years’ worth of content on multiple accounts. Let’s hope that they come up with an automated solution as I wouldn’t want to be the poor soul who has to do the copy and pasting.
Edited on 16th January 2017: President Obama’s social media posts can now be found here: http://obamawhitehouse.gov.archivesocial.com/