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The president of the United States just joined Twitter...again
Barack Obama now has a personal Twitter account, and he's actually tweeting from it. - photo by JJ Feinauer
"Dad, husband, and 44th President of the United States."

So reads the bio of Barack Obama's new official Twitter account that was launched Monday morning with this tweet (which as of this writing was the first of only two tweets on his account).

Obama's new Twitter account (handled @POTUS) appears to diverge considerably from his political account, @BarackObama, which is managed by his Organizing for Action staff.

While the tweets on his official @BarackObama account are almost exclusively political in nature and require a signature of "-BO" to indicate Obama's actual involvement with the tweet, his @POTUS handle appears to be a legitimate personal account. His only tweet to date remains unsigned, which means it must be assumed all tweets come directly from him.

But this new Twitter handle has some confused as to whether or not the current president will maintain the account after he leaves office, or if he will pass it on to the next in line.

"Presumably, the account will pass on to whoever wins next year's election," The Verge's Ross Miller wrote Monday morning. "But for now, it's being framed as a direct line from Obama to your Timeline."

The fact that it is clearly a more personal account raises questions as to whether or not it's intended to be the official account of the presidency, or the private account of the man who currently occupies the office. Especially since the account that bears his personal name has been managed by a third party since 2013, when Obama handed it over to his nonprofit organization Organizing for Action.

"Without skipping a beat, a brand-new organization gained millions of followers on social media," The Atlantic's Philip Bump wrote of Obama's account that's been active since 2007. "It's like the president, mid-conversation, handed his phone to a telemarketer who does a great Obama impression."

Obama's more personalized account is one more step in what is already largely considered the first Internet presidency.

"One of the great winners of the election that just happened was the Internet itself," Eric Schmidt, the executive chairman of Google, said just after Obama's election in 2008. According to Schmidt, the Obama campaign's use of social media likely changed political campaign strategy forever.

"Like John F. Kennedy before him with his masterful exploitation of television," The Root's Omar Wason also wrote in 2008, "Barack Obama proved that a new medium can not merely impact, but completely transform presidential politics."

Obama has spent his presidency delivering on that promise. Shortly after his election in 2008, Obama appointed Aneesh Paul Chopra as the nation's first chief technology officer, and in 2015 he named Jason Goldman to be the first chief digital officer. Both appointments signaled a presidency more focused on the digital age than any other.

In 2012, the president participated in Reddit's popular Ask Me Anything format. In 2014, he appeared on the popular Internet comedy show "Between Two Ferns," and this year he shot a video with Buzzfeed that shows him using a "selfie stick." All are part of the president's efforts to "get out his message" to millennials.

As The Atlantic's David A. Graham wrote last year, it's simply too early to know whether or not Obama's reliance on social media is unique or not. It's the first presidency to operate during a time when the majority of the public is familiar with the means and methods of Facebook and Twitter. But there's no doubt that, as the nation's chief executive, Obama is piling up a long list of technological firsts.
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