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Gibbs Tries "Something New" with Twitter #1Q

BY Nancy Scola | Thursday, October 28 2010

Update: The video is above. The first ever #1q question was a pretty good one, tweeted by one @austinstacksabu -- or Enda Lynch, a self-described "Irishmen" -- and was this: "What is the purpose of the Indian trip? Why not Europe to shore up weavering Afghan support?" The second was a bit of a softball, having to do with whether the Secret Service has changed Obama's code name to "Dude." Negative, reveals Gibbs. It's still "Renegade."

Gibbs promises more to come, saying "we'll do this regularly."

And another update: @austinstacksabu responds to Gibbs' taking of his question. Simply put, "Yae :-)"

Still another update: And, when asked (over Twitter, for sure) what he made of Gibbs' response to his question, Lynch judged it positively, and as informative: "Good, honest. Wasn't aware of the upcoming NATO summit."

*****

Orginal post:Today's first question in Robert Gibbs' White House press briefing will, reports Ari Melber, come from Twitter:

"Something new," Gibbs promised on Thursday morning, in a tweet broadcast to his 108,000 followers. "You take first crack. Use #1q in a q and I'll answer 1 on vid before today's briefing. What do you want to know?"  Showing his fluency with the medium, Gibbs coined #1q as a "hashtag" to track incoming questions, which helps spread the conversation farther across Twitter. 

Notice, though, that Gibbs didn't said he'd actually answer the question during the briefing itself; rather, we'll be getting a "vid" response from Gibbs. Follow-ups appear unlikely.

And that makes Gibbs' "something new" here more of a piece with the Obama White House's considerable online engagement with various members of the administration than any sort of incursion into the White House press corps' afternoon private time with Gibbs. On that front, the White House doesn't get a tremendous amount of credit for its often niched attempts at citizen engagement; this week, for example, has already seen a "Tuesday Talk with David Axelrod," a "Your Questions on Climate Change and Foster Youth" event with administration aides Melody Barnes and Heather Zichal, and, tonight, an "Open for Questions" session with White House photographer Pete Souza, all with opportunities to directly post questions to those administration officials. You're forgiven if this is the first you've heard of any of them. On the measure of just how meaningful Gibbs' Twitter "q," is in compared to its less glamorous counterparts, this is no doubt a quicker hit. But, of course, it helps to be White House press secretary and a familiar face when you're drawing attention to what the White House is attempting to do in opening up the door to regular folk.

Melber and friends have set up a spot for tracking the questions coming in for Gibbs through Twitter. The Republican National Committee is, for one, getting in on the act, tweeting a few minutes ago, "@PressSec Between the appearances on @TheViewTV & @TheDailyShow, has Obama trivialized the presidency?#AskGibbs #1q." Note that they don't include the taking of Twitter questions as a evidence of a trivializing of the presidency. That one seems to pass muster.

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