As the presidential election came to a close we found that some of us were either ecstatic, angry, fearful, relieved, confused, or a combination of all of them with some extra emotions trickled on. I get that!
Being one of the millennials in the office, I watched my social media feeds like a hawk to see what other people were saying, who they were voting for, the whole nine yards. During my regular scans for updates, my gears started to turn a little and an interesting thought begged a question in my mind. During the presidency of Barack Obama, there were many precedences set. One major precendence that stood out to me in particular was his use of digital and social media platforms to engage with people around the country.
So…. what happens to the @POTUS social media handles? What does this transition look like?
Looking back into the last eight years, the Obama administration made some drastic changes to the way people became engaged with our government. In addition to revamping the WhiteHouse.gov website, Facebook, Flickr, Twitter, Vimeo, YouTube, iTunes, Instagram, Snapchat, and MySpace were all used in a variety of manners. Even a platform called “We the People” came into existence, allowing citizens of the country to petition the White House. So, what happens to all the information that was created and shared by Obama and his administration?
The National Archives and Records Administration (NARA) will be preserving all the information, from tweets to photos to YouTube videos, in the same manner that hand-written notes and other documents have been preserved from our previous presidents. A “POTUS44” handle was created to store all of Obama’s social media information, while the “POTUS” handle will have a clean slate once all the information is appropriately transferred and archived. All platforms will be temporarily frozen as of January 20th, 2017.
Everything WILL be made available to the American people and public eye, however. According to the White House, “We’re inviting the American public, from students and data engineers, to artists and researchers, to come up with creative ways to archive this content and make it both useful and available for years to come. We will make our social media data available early to anyone interested in building something for the public.”
With the immense scale of the digital transition, there is sure to be a lot learned along the way and the plans for transition are likely to evolve. If you are interested in updates on the transition process, data releases, and more, follow @WHWeb.
Where Do We Go From Here?
Social media is one of the most accessible forces of this century. In this increasingly digital age, it is critical that you take precaution before you post. Every digital footprint you make is permanent and could potentially impact your business with future consequences. To protect yourself from a social media blunder, ensure your business has a firm social media policy in place that aligns with your brand and professionally appropriate.
Written by: Ryan Dietrich
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