Obama to hold Facebook Town Hall meeting with Mark Zuckerberg

Josh Kinney Contributor
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President Obama announced via Facebook that he will be holding a Town Hall meeting with Facebook founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg.

The meeting will be held at Facebook headquarters in Palo Alto, California and joined by Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg, former chief of staff to Treasury Secretary Larry Summers under President Clinton.

On April 20, at 1:45 PT/4:45 EST, participating Facebook users can ‘attend’ the live-stream meeting and watch Obama answer questions about innovation and the economy.

Beforehand, questions can be posted to the event page wall and Facebook will select the ones Obama will address during the meeting.

Unlike former presidents who announced their decisions to run for re-election from the White House, Obama kicked off his 2012 campaign through the new medium that’s forever changed politics, Facebook and Twitter.  While Bush and Clinton toured the country in buses, Obama reaches his grassroots supporters digitally, with the click of a button.

Political consultant Joe Trippi, who ran Howard Dean’s 2004 Presidential campaign, told The New York Times in 2008: “The tools changed between 2004 and 2008. Barack Obama won every single caucus state that matters, and he did it because of those tools, because he was able to move thousands of people to organize.”

Monday, Obama’s Twitter post with the hashtag #Obama2012 led to a video asking: “Are you in?”  So far, the Facebook “like” page says around 19 million are.  Obama’s Facebook page has also been “liked” by around the same number.

Throughout his 2008 presidential campaign, Obama used social media as a tool to spread his message and ignite a massive online presence.

In 2009, The White House joined Facebook, Twitter, and Myspace becoming part of the new medium as a clear and effective way to communicate with the American people.  Since then, Obama has continued to use Facebook, recently posting an exclusive video confronting cyber-bulling for the White House Conference on Bullying Prevention last month.

Today, an interactive banner appears on the top of Obama’s campaign website when Facebook users connect to their accounts showing which of their Facebook friends aren’t ‘In’ yet.  It allows them to post a message to their friends’ Facebook walls encouraging them to join the application.

So far, approximately 3,600 have RSVP’d “attending” to the April 20 Town Hall meeting.  However, as to be expected by anything that’s completely open to the masses, most of the questions posted on the event page’s wall do not pertain to economics and innovation.