In a 21st century turn of events, President Barack Obama spoke at a town-hall-style meeting hosted by Facebook on Wednesday. Asking for help in beating back Republican budget proposals, the country’s commander-in-chief was flanked by none other than Mark Zuckerberg, Facebook founder and whiz kid. Zuckerberg, or “Zuck” as he’s known to his friends, served as moderator and funneled questions to a president who has been trying to make more extensive use of social media in reaching out to voters.
The tally? More than 2,800 people wrote in comments. And while there was ample appreciation for Obama, detractors also found their way to the online forum. Case in point? ForAmerica, a group that sprung up online during the debate over Obama’s health care reform law, urged its nearly 1 million Facebook fans to swarm the landing page Facebook was using to collect questions to pose to him at Wednesday afternoon’s live forum. The deluge led to the page being listed at one point as “unavailable.” A spokesman said it was down for 40 minutes. Ah, yes, a cyber-filibuster if there ever was one. “We are only beginning to see the untapped power of this growing, formidable online army,” Brent Bozell, chairman of ForAmerica, said in a statement.
So while this latest effort by the White House to get in touch with the online community may have been somewhat sabotaged, the President has mandated that his team start hiring young, techy candidates to help his Washington become more internet savvy. “We’ve got to make becoming a White House staffer cool again.” We’ll be watching, sir.