US President Barack Obama on Monday said he was "too clumsy" to use popular social-networking websites such as Twitter, despite aides making extensive use of them during his election campaign.
Obama told some 500 students in Shanghai that he had never used Twitter but supported unrestricted access to all internet technology.
"My thumbs are too clumsy to type in things on the phone," he said. "But I am a big believer in technology and I'm a big believer in openness when it comes to the flow of information."
Obama was responding to a question about access to Twitter and China's use of its "Great Firewall" to block access to politically sensitive online content for the country's estimated 350 million internet users.
"I think that the more freely information flows, the stronger the society becomes, because then citizens of countries around the world can hold their own governments accountable," he said.
Obama joked that as US president "there are times where I wish information didn't flow so freely because then I wouldn't have to listen to people criticising me all the time."
He said the open criticism "makes our democracy stronger and it makes me a better leader because it forces me to hear opinions that I don't want to hear."
Online "citizen participation" in governance had made the internet an "even more powerful tool," Obama said.
"In fact, one of the reasons that I won the presidency was because we were able to mobilise young people like yourself to get involved through the internet," he told the students.