From the news that really isn’t news at all department here at Marketing Pilgrim comes the joining of Foursquare by none other than the White House. Yes, the White House. Setting a new precedent, it appears as if this may be the first location that will be checking in at other locations.
The White House has started a Foursquare account which is just in time for the president’s economic bus tour (does he have to borrow money along the way to gas up the bus?).
The White House blog tells us
The White House is now on Foursquare, a location-based social networking website, which is the latest way for you to engage with the administration. There are over 10 million people already “checking in” around the world, and now you’ll be able to discover “tips” from the White House featuring the places President Obama has visited, what he did there, plus historical information and more.
We’re excited to launch this week as President Obama kicks off his economic bus tour across the Midwest. You can follow the President on the road through Cannon Falls, Minnesota; Decorah and Peosta, Iowa; and Atkinson and Alpha, Illinois. Through the new White House page on Foursquare, you can keep up with the President’s tour and check-in to let your friends know you’re there.
Obama joining Foursquare comes just hours after the geosocial network unveiled Tip Lists, a feature that lets users and brands bundle and curate their best tips into easy-to-follow lists. It seems that the White House will be using Tip Lists as a way to track the President’s visits across the country as he begins his campaign for reelection.
The addition of the President of the United States to Foursquare’s 10+ million users could be a watershed moment for the mobile service, especially as the 2012 campaign kicks into high gear. Expect a lot more people to join Foursquare very soon.
Common sense tells us that with approval ratings falling below 40% the President figures it’s time to enlist people in something where it’s “fun” to be involved with politics because the real world sucks!
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This move by the White House starts to bring into focus the impact of social media on politics. While Rome may be burning politicians from both sides of the aisle can put on their “Look at me voters, I’m cool like you!” hat to try to cajole a vote out of those who think that engaging in light hearted social media plays is enough to get re-elected or, if you are an opponent, elected for the first time.
To this point in time, politics and social media have been interesting bedfellows. Many social media followers who were brought into the fray during the last presidential election saw a lot of activity in the run up to the election and then were left holding their status updates and not much else afterward. In a bit of a surprise, people used social media recently was to voice displeasure with the president during the manufactured debt ceiling “issue”. Other than that, it’s not much more than another press release outlet.
All in all, social media still appears to be the perfect place for politicians. You don’t have to actually be involved that much (look at the @BarackObama Twitter updates and see) and it’s the perfect place to control a message to fit any circumstance or need. And, of course, if anyone disagrees they can be shouted down by those who think this makes a person “real”.
What else could any politician ask for?