President Expands Social Media Platforms to Spread Message

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President Barack Obama greets college students after speaking at the University of Colorado Denver campus on Oct. 26, 2011 in Denver, Colo. (credit: John Moore/Getty Images)

President Barack Obama greets college students after speaking at the University of Colorado Denver campus on Oct. 26, 2011 in Denver, Colo. (credit: John Moore/Getty Images)

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Washington (CBS Washington) – President Obama is using social media once again in hopes to keep the White House.

In 2008, Obama was the first candidate to effectively use the social media platforms Twitter and Facebook for his campaign. This time around, he has added a new tool to his arsenal – a Tumblr blog.

The first post was a simple greeting: “Hi Tumblr, It’s nice to meet you.” The post went on to ask for story submissions and invited users to ask questions about the campaign.

Tumblr blogs — or Tumblogs — are known to be freewheeling, image-laden affairs and among some Internet circles, they have gained the reputation for being the blogging platform of choice for hipsters and teenage girls.

Tumblr’s popularity has been increasing since its launch in 2007. It surpassed other venerable blogging platforms such as WordPress in the amount of blogs that they service. Tumblr also has an 85 percent retention rate amongst users, compared to Twitter’s 40 percent.

The platform has developed to be a go-to tool for companies that want to present a warmer tone for their communications. The New York Public Library, Newsweek, and NPR all have Tumblogs that have high amounts of followers.

Meghan Peters, a community manager at Mashable.com, told CBS Washington that Tumblr “appeals to a younger demographic and to the fashion and art and design community as well. It’s really taken off.”

She also added that with Tumblr’s sharing abilities that “YouTube videos work really well with it. They’re a natural fit.”

The president’s use of YouTube is also well known. Every Saturday, Obama posts a new YouTube video for his weekly presidential address.

Mark Coatney, a director and media evangelist at Tumblr, told CBS Washington that the Obama campaign came to them about using the platform before they launched their Tumblogs.

“They knew they wanted to do one. They contacted us to see if we would agree with their thesis. They had an idea what it should be. They wanted it to be the voice of the campaign instead of the voice of Barack Obama.”

Coatney says that no Republican candidates have yet to contact Tumblr to set up their own blogs.

“I would love to have any candidate come along and use Tumblr to talk to voters.”

Coatney adds he wants to see Tumblr “being used more to talk to voters.”

Peters says there are other social media platforms to look into outside of Tumblr.

“Another good one for him would be Quora because it would be good for him to ask and answer questions from the community.”

Peters also added that “Google+ would be a good one as well because of its ‘hangout’ feature.”

A Google+ hangout is similar to a video conference. A user will start a hangout and then allow followers to join in. “It would be interesting to see Obama use that feature.” Peters says. “The Dalai Lama used it not too long ago.”

The Dalai Lama hosted a Google+ hangout in early October for Archbishop Desmond Tutu’s peace lecture. Links were provided by Google to Google+ users that wished to attend.

Calls made by CBS Washington to reach out the Obama campaign about the story have not been immediately returned.

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