Pope, President Hit Twitter to Reach Constituents

By Cameron Scott 

twitter, white house, social networks, social mediaTwitter reached a new high water mark of credibility today as Pope Benedict XVI announced he would launch a Twitter feed later this month, and President Barack Obama conducted a Q-and-A on the social network about the so-called fiscal cliff.

Beginning December 12, “His Holiness Pope Benedict XVI” will tweet in English from @Pontifex , with additional accounts established in German, Spanish, Portuguese, Italian, Polish, French and Arabic.

The Vatican said the Pope will use Twitter to “try and share the Good News of Christ with those seeking answers to life’s key questions on their computers, ipads [sic], tablets or smartphones.”

President Obama is not a newcomer to social media; today’s question-and-answer session continues a larger social media campaign the White House is conducting to push Congress to avoid the fiscal cliff with the hashtag #My2K. The hashtag refers to the tax bill the average American family will face if automatic steps to repair the budget go into effect.

Obama launched his session today with a tweet that showed how comfortable he is on social media: “Hi, guys. This is Barack. ready to answer your questions on fiscal cliff & #my2k. Let’s get started. -bo,” he wrote.

Obama managed to comfortably answer complex and polemical questions related to balancing the budget with tax hikes and/or cuts to services in 140 characters of less.

For example, Mike Vanderwyst asked, “Why won’t keeping tax rates low across the board encourage more hires and therefore more tax revenue?” The president answered, “High end tax cuts do least for economic growth & cost almost $1T. extending middle class cuts boosts consumer demand & growth.”

Photo courtesy the White House