Twitter handles are no simple matter when they involve the President of the United States of America. Especially when you’ve only ever had one “social media president”—all practices are new practices.
Barack Obama was the first POTUS to have an official White House Twitter account, and also the first to use live social media features like streaming on Facebook, YouTube and Snapchat.
“Looking back over the past eight years, our digital footprint reflects some broader changes in the ways people consume news and information and engage with the world around them online,” the White House said online. “This digital infrastructure is an asset not just for the next president but for all future presidents to build off of. The archive belongs to the American people.”
From the very beginning, our mission has been to reach Americans and people around the world on the channels and platforms where they already spend their time. The past eight years have left us with tremendous optimism about how future administrations might use these tools to create even more pathways for meaningful civic participation.
President Obama wants a “smooth transition” of social media between administrations. The handle @POTUS will be made available to Donald Trump on January 20. The account will retain its 11 million followers but start with no tweets. @POTUS44, a newly created handle maintained by NARA, will contain all of President Obama’s tweets. In addition, President Obama’s tweets will also be archived at NARA, where they will be preserved and accessible in the same manner as all other Presidential records.
A similar archiving process will also be applied to other social media platforms like Instagram and Facebook.
“We’re committed to publicly sharing our social media content in an easily accessible and comprehensive way,” the White House says.