Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Will the White House's Use of Social Media Eventually Diminish Access to the President?

Social Media is here to stay. In fact it may become the dominant form of communication in the near future. The legal, political, and societal ramifications are tremendous. President Obama utilized social media to get elected and his administration is using social media to actively engage with the American people and the rest of the world. For example, the White House has an official Twitter account and is currently looking for a Twitterer-In-Chief. White House spokesman Robert Gibbs recently stated that Twitter is an amazing tool.

The White House has about 1.75 million followers and follows just 99 other accounts. However, if you look closely at who the White House follows you will see that it mainly follows other U.S. government entities. It also follows 10 Downing Street, aka the British Prime Minister's office. Why doesn't the White House follow more governments, both friend and alleged foe? Is the White House intentionally keeping the number of accounts it follows in double digits?

The White House also has an official blog. Will the official White House Blog soon replace press releases since a blog is a de facto press release mechanism. I am wondering if the President's weekly radio address and daily press briefings will soon be replaced by the pre-recorded podcast. From the White House's own website you can watch official presidential events via audio or video podcast.

In the future, a majority of the population may rely solely on social media as their news gathering resource. During a major political crisis will the White House turn mainly to social media to get its message out and stop the daily press briefing? Will the current or a future President decide to stop the traditional daily briefings and instruct the White House Press Secretary to utilize daily interactive webinars? Will the White House limit the media's access for political purposes?  The First Amendment and freedom of the press issues that are intertwined with social media and politics are mind boggling. To learn more about these issues you may contact me at www.shearlaw.com.

Copyright 2010 by the Law Office of Bradley S. Shear, LLC. All rights reserved.