When the presidency of the United States is handed to Donald Trump on January 20, the @POTUS Twitter account goes with it.
Will the Twitterholic billionaire use it? Stick to his groove with @realDonaldTrump? Use both, perhaps relegating his staff and their iPhones to the official account and keeping up what one researcher said was his Android-fueled Twitter stream on @realDonaldTrump?
Who knows? It’s all conjecture at this point.
The @POTUS Twitter account is soon to be scrubbed clean for the incoming president, while Obama is taking his administration’s 250,000 social media records with him.
More specifically, the Obama administration has stashed them in an open, free archive.
The administration last week launched the single, searchable online archive, The Obama White House Social Media Archive, containing everything the president and his administration have posted on Instagram, Twitter, Flickr, Facebook, Google+, and Pinterest during his eight years in office.
According to ArchiveSocial – the platform that hosts it – the archive, the first of its kind, includes social media profiles of more than 100 people associated with the White House, including the @POTUS Twitter timeline, the official White House Facebook page, and the First Lady’s Instagram feed.
As ArchiveSocial explained, the White House didn’t have much choice, given that accessibility of federal government communications is required by the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA). All those tweets and Facebook posts need to be retained and available to the public on request, in a “future-proof” format.
So if one of the social media platforms – say, Twitter – ever goes belly-up or morphs into something entirely different (Twitter is on Ars Technica’s 2017 Death Watch because of the way it’s been bleeding cash), those social media musings won’t go swirling down the drain with it.
The social media output of future presidents will be added to the archive, starting with Obama as the 44th person to hold the job and continuing on up from there.
You can search the archive here. Advanced search enables you to whittle down the results according to specific date range, social media platform, and text search terms.
That’s good, because the search results can be voluminous and can contain a lot of tangential snippets. In fact, everything about the archive is pretty darn good. It introduces welcome transparency into the government and makes it drop-dead simple for all to flex their FOIA muscles.
What keywords will you search on? Healthcare? Gun control? Trump?
Let us know if you find anything worth sharing as we get ready to say goodbye to POTUS #44 Obama and hello to @POTUS #45 Trump.