Yesterday afternoon President Barack Obama sat down with Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg for a social media first: a presidential “Facebook Town Hall” meeting. In the modern-day version of former President Franklin D. Roosevelt’s fireside chats, Obama fielded questions about the economy, immigration, the budget deficit, the housing crisis, and more.
Obama’s Facebook post asking fans to watch the Town Hall Meeting and to submit questions received nearly 13,000 ‘likes’ and 3,861 comments within less than 24 hours, and the event page shows 46,455 as “Attending.” The general public could submit questions via Obama’s Facebook Wall or the White House website, and Facebook staffers were also given the opportunity to submit questions. It’s not clear how many people actually participated in the live stream.
According to Reuters, “Obama sought to connect to tens of millions of people who have adopted social media as a prime method of communications.” He recognizes the power of this “relatively young” audience and is working to secure their support as 2012 approaches.
AllFacebook.com reports that other politicians have done livestreams on Facebook, including Texas Governor Rick Perry, Texas’s U.S. Senator John Cornryn, former U.K. Prime Minister Tony Blair, and former U.S. President George Bush.
How significant a role will social media strategy play in the upcoming 2012 presidential elections? While The Christian Science Monitor affirms that Obama “was the undeniable king of digital outreach back in 2008,” technology has changed and Republicans have had time to catch up and level out the realtime playing field. Keep an eye out for future posts on the latest political strategies in the mobile, social and realtime space.