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Robert Gibbs Considers Twitter, via Twitter

BY Nancy Scola | Tuesday, December 21 2010

Robert Gibbs' First Question series, wherein in responds, on video, to two or three questions plucked from those posted by people on Twitter, took a meta turn today, with Gibbs taking a query about the effect of online social tools on how the Obama administration goes about its business. "Is social networking like Twitter having a significant impact [sic] your role on the Presidency?," asked James Hardy, under the handle @DrMikeHunt. If so, how? Is it a good thing?"

Gibbs, chatting in front of an actual fireplace, responded positively to the question. "Mike, it is a good thing," he said. "Let me tell you several reasons why. People like you can write questions of me or of the president and have somebody answer them directly for you. The president campaigned on an open and transparent administration and it's clear the ability for citizens of this country to directly question those that work in the government is an obvious and good thing. I think the simple availability of more information for people to make decisions and to understand the decision making of this administration is absolutely a good thing, and we'll continue to do it."

(Gibbs got a bit of Twitter ribbing for using Hardy's handle, instead of his actual name. But this is a family blog, so I'm not going to explain where the humor lays.)

Gibbs kicked off First Questions back in October, and has taken a few minutes to field a pair or trio of questions from the masses on twelve occasions since. And the series recently got a rather slick interface on the White House's official website, which you can check out here. It's probably fair to say that it's been a rather low-profile effort. The YouTube video from December 1st's First Question, for example, has pulled in just 3,400 views.