President Obama 'Hangsout,' answers YouTube questions

Krystal Peak · January 30, 2012 · Short URL:

Google+ Hangout addresses questions about jobs, SOPA, foreign policy and more

President Obama continues to embrace and experiment with different forms of social media to keep connected with young voters. Today, The White House, with the help of YouTube and Google+, hosted a Google+ hangout to address Internet video questions turned in this week.

The Hangout was live at 5:30 pm E.S.T. and allowed people to listen to the broadcast, share comments, and share the video as the president addressed questions. The 45-minute "hangout" session with the President was filmed in the West Wing.

By the start of the Hangout broadcast, 227,000 Google users sent in 133,000 questions to be chosen from. The hangout was announced a week ago, and is a great boost to the Google+ platform which has been gaining users but has lacked cohesion. 

Google+ has approximately 90 million registered users and too few have taken advantage of some of these broadcasting and group chat features. The Obama White House has been very passionate about adopting new technology and social media elements to give the public a better understanding and connection to the inner workings of the Washington political system.

While many of the questions submitted were related to the national drug policy and the Law Enforcement Against Prohibition (LEAP).

I really enjoyed watching the Hangout session because, unlike speeches (such as the State of the Union and Town Hall meetings), this hangout allowed for back and forth conversation so that the people asking the questions could rebut the President's answers, offer a vote on how they feel about issues, and provide their insight on other comments made.

When talking about the state of the U.S economy, the President spoke at length about remembering the history of the country and how it weather though the storms.

"I think one of the most important things I can do as President is remind this generation that previous generations has had tougher times," the Presdient said. "We always come out on top as long as we work together to solve some of these problems."

One question poised in the Hangout was about the visas offered to skilled workers that wish to gain employment in the U.S. and if this is a wise choice since many people are having a hard time getting work. The President assured the viewers that these work visas were specific for labor where there are not enough people actively seeking work.

One such field that he said the country is in need of more skilled workers in would be in the high tech engineering field. The President pointed out that he would love for more people in the U.S. to be skilled and fill these jobs but this is just not the case, and thus many of these tech firms are looking outside the states to fill these positions.

The President also addressed the need for a more flexible Internet environment and that SOPA and PIPA were not workable as it was written.

He also made a point of how he appricates the freedom of YouTube and SNL political parodies -- but he isn't sure that any of these skits will impact the actual outcome of the election.

Obama was the first Twitter president and has a strong Flickr account, Instagram account, YouTube channel and today the Obama campaign announced that it will start accepting Square payments for the campaign to re-elect the President.

The mobile payments device is now a newly active part of the Obama campaign so that staffers and fundraisers can track the funds they raise more easily and get moony on the go using the Square dongle plus most mobile phone or tablet devices.

“Whether you’re a Republican or a Democrat, running for president or local assembly, Square makes it easier than ever for candidates, organizations and volunteers to fundraise for their cause,” said a spokesperson for Square.

This tech adoption is another great move for the Obama team since Square has really positioned itself as a fast comers solution that brings the speed and digital organization of the Internet technology into a real-world application.

By taking donations via Square, the campaign can make a transaction with a quick swipe and then send the receipt via SMS or email to the payee. The same fees (2.75%) apply for use by non-profits and political campaigns.

This move is also a boon to Square since the Obama campaign raised $42 million in the fourth quarter of 2011 and Square is now accepted at more than one-eighth of the merchants that accept credit cards in the U.S.

So it looks like, unlike Congress -- which calls people who understand the Internet "geeks" -- the Obama campaign is really capitalizing on its tech-savvy adoptions and is willing to reach out to the voters on a multitude of platforms. 


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