Tweetup In the East Room!

Is it just me or are more organizations getting out there on Twitter? What prompts that question is the news that President Obama will host a “Twitter Town Hall” on Wednesday afternoon (July 6) in the East Room of the White House. You can submit your questions now for the tweetup at #askobama. This follows the announcement in early June that the president would be posting his own tweets (signed “BO”) on the @barackobama account, which boasts close to 9 million followers.

With Twitter selecting the questions based on those most popular, it’s pretty clear that there won’t be any nasty online exchanges between Obama and the audience. It’s also clear that Obama—given the challenges of being re-elected in such a wavering economy—can benefit from the interaction Twitter can provide.

Another indication of Twitter’s domination the social media landscape: Its solid integration into professional sports. Sports illustrated writer L. Jon Wertheim says in a story in the July 4 issue that every NBA, MLB, NHL and NFL franchise has a Twitter presence, and half of all pro athletes have their own accounts (Shaq, an early Twitter adopter, has more than four million followers). Remember, the sports world has generated its share of  controversial—and just plain dumb—tweets, yet the upstairs brass is encouraging more use of the platform.

But the NBA is drawing the Twitter line, thanks to the current labor dispute and player lockout. According to ESPN’s Ric Bucher, coaches and general managers can follow NBA players on Twitter during the lockout, but a mention or retweet might cost their teams a fine of $1 million and possible a loss of future draft picks. Now that’s a social media policy!

–Scott Van Camp