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Obama, Bullying, and Life Inside Facebook

BY Nancy Scola | Wednesday, March 9 2011

A sincere question: are there analogous moments in American or other political histories where a president or other top figure makes what, for lack of a better term, a platform-specific appeal in the way that Barack Obama (and Michelle Obama, too) does here? "Hi everybody," says the President of the United States in a new video being promoted as a quote-unquote Facebook Exclusive. "I'm not here to ask you to accept my friend request." Instead, he's promoting an event on bullying prevention at the White House this Thursday, one that will include a special session of Facebook DC Live. So much of our political culture is getting routed through corporate platforms like Facebook so quickly that, without much notice, it's becoming the new normal.

"You can participate in the conversation online, find more resources, and be a part of this growing campaign at StopBullying.gov -- or right here on Facebook," says Obama in the appeal.

I'd embed the video, but Facebook doesn't allow that. Instead, a cobbled-together screen shot will have to suffice, and you'll have to click through to Facebook to watch the thing. Again, a question: is this sort of Facebook-only pitch just the next-generation TV commercial? Or is there something different going on here?