NEW YORK — President Barack Obama joined the location-based social network Foursquare this week, adding to his other hip, online destinations that include Facebook, Twitter and YouTube.
Obama is also on the professional social networking service LinkedIn, which suggests the president is hedging his bets, in case he’s looking for work after the 2012 election.
In announcing his entry to Foursquare, the White House said in a blog post that it will offer “tips” on the places he visits, including his recently launched bus tour of the Midwest on economic issues. So far, his Foursquare posts have been past tense, giving information on where he was, rather than where he is (as most utilize Foursquare).
The announcement didn’t stop the jokes about the irony of the president — whose location is generally shrouded in secrecy for national security sake — advertising his movements on the Internet.
The chain of command seems backward, too. Foursquare rewards a user who heavily frequents a location by dubbing the user “mayor” of that spot. Would the president of the United States take pleasure in also being the mayor of Applebee’s? He certainly has a lock as “mayor” of the Oval Office.
But the president’s continuing push into Web interconnectivity begs the question: To what other digital destinations should Obama expand? It takes effort to stay current with the ever-shifting hangouts of the Internet. Here’s a look envisioning a truly 2.0 President Obama.
Chatroulette: Imagine: You’re flipping from webcam chat to webcam chat, and suddenly the leader of the free world pops up. It could actually be an effective and quick way of interacting with voters. Part of the problem is that no one would believe they were actually chatting with the president. This one might be a better fit for Vice President Joe Biden.
FarmVille: Zynga’s popular social network game, in which you plow land, harvest crops and raise livestock could be a real boon to a campaign looking to attract voters from the nation’s heartland. Candidates love to appear folksy. Perhaps FarmVille can be Obama’s digital answer to President George W. Bush’s brush clearing.
Singboard.com: Really, the pathway to Internet relevancy runs directly through karaoke. If Obama isn’t going to post a YouTube video of him doing Beyonce’s “Single Ladies (Put a Ring on It)” dance, he might as well get started on karaoke sites such as Singboard. There is obvious political risk here, though. More than a few have been undone by ABBA.
Etsy: The homemade marketplace Etsy has a largely female demographic from which Obama could benefit. Surely, he can assemble some kind of red-white-and-blue owl or “Yes We Can!” ceramic plates to add to the crafts site. After all, if he can appear on “The View,” he can drop by Etsy.
Eons: An online community that caters specifically to baby boomers, Eons attracts an older demographic than Facebook. Obama is just 50 years old, but he’s starting to show some gray hair.
“Between Two Ferns”: Zach Galifianakis’ mock-interview web series on FunnyOrDie.com would be the ultimate Web-savvy move for the president. The comedian’s guests have largely been actors, but a head-of-state dropping by would be the digital age version of Nixon appearing on “Laugh-In” — only funnier, and with less dancing. Sock it to us, Mr. President.