White House joins Google+ ahead of State of the Union speech


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The White House is now on Google+ and no, it’s not technically a move to help President Obama get reelected -- there is a separate Obama 2012 page for that.

So why is the Obama administration now on Google’s social network? The State of the Union speech on Tuesday is at least one reason to join Google+.


The annual speech will be broadcast across major TV networks and an enhanced version will be streamed online to the White House’s mobile apps and at, with ‘charts, stats and data that helped inform President Obama’s policy decisions as he delivers his speech to the nation,’ the White House said.

After the speech, which starts at 6 p.m. Pacific time, White House officials will field questions throughout the week regarding the speech, the president’s policies, and the direction in which the country and economy is headed. Those questions will be taken from Twitter, Facebook and (as of this week) Google+.

Down the road, the White House may use Google+ Hangouts, the social network’s group video-chatting feature, to reach constituents.

‘The President and First Lady often call the White House ‘The People’s House.’ Well, this is another way we’re opening our doors (virtually) to citizens around the country,’ said Kori Schulman, the deputy director of outreach at the White House Office of Digital Strategy, in a blog post. ‘On our Google+ page, we’ll host regular ‘White House Hangouts’ with administration officials on a range of issues and topics.

‘Some Google+ users will be invited to join the Hangout with the White House and have a conversation with policy experts. But the best part is that even if you’re not ‘in’ the Hangout, you can watch the whole thing live on, on our Google+ page or on the White House YouTube channel.’

The White House currently has no Google+ Hangouts planned.

Although the White House’s Google+ page isn’t an official campaign tool, there is no doubt that the Obama administration and his reelection campaign staff are looking to use every tool possible to reach voters this year.

After all, the president’s use of social media in his winning of the 2008 election is often cited as one of the reasons he was able to build up support among voters. The Technology blog even described Obama as ‘the first social media president.’

One other reason the White House might want to be on Google+ -- Republican rivals looking to knock Obama out of office are there too.


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-- Nathan Olivarez-Giles

Nathan Olivarez-Giles on Google+