He's probably the most followed Twitter account holder who describes himself first as "Dad, husband," and it's almost certainly - despite its young age - one of the most popular presidential accounts out there. Really!
It was one of those moments social scientists dream of. Barack Obama publishes a tweet on his new, for-the-first-time-ever official White House account.
"Hello, Twitter! It's Barack. Really! Six years in, they're finally giving me my own account."
And the numbers soared. Really! It felt like watching an ant hill, except there weren't any ants, just favorites, retweets and followers.
Within 20 minutes of going live, 50,000 followers had signed up. After an hour, it was a quarter of a million. Two hours into the cyber event and Barack Obama @POTUS (PresidentOfTheUnitedStates) was already well over 500,000. (This is, of course, not to mention that Obama already has 59.3 million followers of his other account, @BarackObama. It's currently the third-most followed account on Twitter, just behind US and Canadian pop singers, Katie Perry and Justin Bieber, respectively…]
Welcome Mr. President!
The platform itself, none other than Twitter Inc., went out of its way to welcome Obama and his professional account on Monday.
Incidentally, this was the first direct comment issued by the social media service on its flagship account in a week. And for Twitter standards, that is saying something indeed.
Too many other responses to even try to do justice to here preceded and ensued, ranging from "Hi Dad!" to other, more critical birdsong:
And what did the Chicago Cubs have to say? The Cubbies were the one professional Chicago team Obama neglected to follow when ticking off his list of hometown clubs. (Come on Barack! What would Cubs commentator Harry Caray say?... Sure as God made green apples!...)
And a few users even used the happening to point out - regardless of how superficially informed - how many more followers @FLOTUS had than @POTUS.
Is this the beginning of a domestic dispute? (@FLOTUS, by the way, is the FirstLadyOftheUnitedStates, Michelle Obama.)
No, not really.
Obama's counterpart in Germany, by the way, didn't say a single word. Why? Well, one good reason is that Merkel doesn't even have a Twitter account. Her spokesman Steffen Seibert (@RegSprecher) takes care of tweeting duties on her behalf… Is it time for @Kanzlerin or even @MuttiMerkel? Or, working with the @POTUS style: @KvdBRD? (KanzlerinvonderBundesRepublikDeutschland - dutifully following German capitalization rules, of course.)
At any rate, from the comparatively less followed ranks of DW (@POTUS had more followers than DW's flagship @dw_english account presence within 20 minutes of existence!), please, by all means, regard this article about you as our heartfelt welcome, too!
[Editor's note: At the time of this article's publication, almost exactly four hours after Obama's opening Twitter message, @POTUS had 896,846 followers - equating to just over 62 per second.]