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Barack Obama Gets @POTUS, His Personal Twitter Handle

But what happens to it after he leaves office?

No. 44 is the first tweeter in chief.

Late Monday morning, President Barack Obama tweeted from his new Twitter account, @POTUS, for the first time.

That tweet instantly generated tens of thousands of retweets and favorites, and the Commander in Chief picked up 180,000 followers in the first 40 minutes.

The White House's blog stated that the new account "will serve as a new way for President Obama to engage directly with the American people, with tweets coming exclusively from him. President Obama is committed to making his administration the most open and participatory in history, and will give Americans a new venue to engage on the issues that matter most to them."

It's unclear what will happen to the @POTUS handle after he leaves office in less than two years, but it seems reasonable to believe he will hand it off to his successor and then personally start tweeting from @BarackObama.

His staff currently runs that handle, with an audience of 59 million. Other world leaders have also built substantial followings, including India prime minister Narenda Modi (12 million) and Pope Francis (6 million).

How 44 uses the account will be worth watching and could set trends that future presidents continue, since he's the first U.S. president to lead during the social media age.

There were, inevitably, ridiculous and offensive responses to Obama's new Twitter account. But here are few of the more innocent and entertaining replies.

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