Government 2.0

Blog archive

Did a rogue Twitter account confuse White House town hall participants?

White House officials fielded thousands of questions from the public in advance of President Barack Obama's first “Twitter Town Hall” event July 6, but the existence of an apparent rogue Twitter account suggests that some questions intended for the White House might have gone astray.

Federal officials invited the public to submit questions for the town hall on the Twitter website with the #askobama hashtag. A hashtag is a content label that enables the questions to be easily collected and viewed as a group on Twitter. Thousands of questions reportedly were submitted with that hashtag.

However, the existence of an @askobama Twitter account may have confused some users. The account appears to be new and is listed in the name of “A.J. Obama.” It has no tweets, follows no accounts and has no information published about its owner. There is no indication that the @askobama Twitter account has any official connection with the White House, the president or the Twitter Town Hall event.

Nevertheless, as of July 6, the @askobama account had 1,245 followers. Furthermore, a reporter’s searches of Twitter revealed that numerous users referred to @askobama as an affiliated account of the White House town hall event, apparently by mistake.

It was not immediately clear if the existence of @askobama was a deliberate prank or an attempt to affect the town hall. 

What happened to questions tweeted to @askobama instead of #askobama? Apparently there was no response, because @askobama has not broadcasted any tweets; the account holder did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Any disgruntled members of the public who wonder whether their questions got lost should check their hashtags to make sure the questions were sent to #askobama instead of @askobama.

Follow me on Twitter at @AliceLipowicz

Posted by Alice Lipowicz on Jul 06, 2011 at 7:25 PM

Reader Comments

Please post your comments here. Comments are moderated, so they may not appear immediately after submitting. We will not post comments that we consider abusive or off-topic.

Please type the letters/numbers you see above

What is your e-mail address?

My e-mail address is:

Do you have a password?

Forgot your password? Click here


  • POWER TRAINING: How to engage your customers

    Don't miss our July 12 Washington Technology Power Training session on Mastering Stakeholder Engagement, where you'll learned the critical skills you need to more fully connect with your customers and win more business. Read More


    In our latest Project 38 Podcast, editor Nick Wakeman and senior staff writer Ross Wilkers discuss the major news events so far in 2019 and what major trends are on the horizon. Read More

contracts DB

Washington Technology Daily

Sign up for our newsletter.

Terms and Privacy Policy consent

I agree to this site's Privacy Policy.