Now message Obama like you ping friends on Facebook!

  • PTI, Washington
  • Updated: Aug 11, 2016 21:08 IST
Every night, President Obama reads 10 letters that were sent to him by citizens. (AP Photo)

Netizens can now ping US President Barack Obama on Facebook just like they do to friends as the White House tries to stay in touch with people and keep up with the changing times using a Messenger bot.

“1801: The White House starts to receive mail. 1880: The White House takes its first phone call. 1994: The White House receives email. And today for the first time ever, you can send a note to President Obama by messaging the White House on Facebook, the same way you message your friends,” said the White House on its Facebook page while announcing the maiden initiative.

The White House’s Messenger bot, a first of its kind for any government the world over, will make it as easy as messaging your closest friends, Chief Digital Officer of the White House Jason Goldman said.

Every night, President Obama reads 10 letters that were sent to him by citizens and have been a part of his daily routine since taking office in 2009, he said in a statement on Wednesday.

“These 10 “letters a day”, or 10 LADs as they are known to staff, do more to keep the President in touch with what is happening around the country than just about anything else,” Goldman said, adding Obama is not alone in this and that reading letters from the public is a Presidential tradition going back to Thomas Jefferson.

The statement quoted Obama as saying that the letters not only “help me to stay in touch with the people who sent me here, or the people who voted against me, but a lot of times they identify problems that might not have percolated up through the various agencies and bureaucracies. And more than once there have been occasions where these letters inspired action on real problems that are out there”.

Goldman said: “Today, there are more ways than ever for us to communicate. No matter where you are or what time of day it is, it’s possible to connect instantaneously, in real time, to people all over the world. One of our jobs at the White House is to keep up.

“Our goal is to meet people where they are.”

It is the reason why Obama launched his own Twitter account and First Lady Michelle Obama is on Snapchat, he said, adding it is about creating opportunities for people to engage with their government in new and accessible ways, using the same technologies people already rely on in daily lives.

Face-to-face time is a little harder to come by these days, but technology makes it possible for anyone with an internet connection to send a message to the President and his Administration, he said. PTI SAI AKJ SAI

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