Methods of communication have changed drastically not only since former presidents were in office, but also within President Barack Obama's own two terms. Social media allows us to receive immediate updates not only about the lives of our friends and favorite celebrities, but also about what's happening in Washington. First Lady Michelle Obama even recently joined Snapchat.
On Wednesday, the White House announced the latest way to keep in touch — Facebook messaging.
Thanks to a new bot ("the first of its kind for any government around the world"), you can now go to the White House Facebook page, click "message," and type away. You'll then be prompted to provide your contact information before sending. It's as easy as that — no envelopes or postage stamps required.
Obviously the president can't read every single message he receives, but he does read some of them, a tradition going back to the Jefferson era. Since he entered office in 2009, Obama has read 10 letters from citizens every night. You can even read some of the correspondence yourself on the Letters to President Obama Tumblr page.
In the announcement, the White House also shared some meaningful thoughts from the president himself about the importance of hearing directly from the American people, in their own words, about the issues that matter to them, and how such contact can actually effect change.
To make sure that in all the hustle and bustle that's taken place here, we don't lose sight of why we're here — which is a bunch of citizens all across the country, needing our help, seeking advice, more than occasionally being angry, wanting to be heard. And what's interesting is not only do these letters help me to stay in touch with the people who sent me here, or the people who voted against me, but a lot of times they identify problems that might not have percolated up through the various agencies and bureaucracies. And more than once there have been occasions where these letters inspired action on real problems that are out there.
We may not have reached the point of sending emoji-heavy texts directly to the president's phone and receiving a timely response, but the White House is definitely keeping up with the times, as Facebook Messenger recently hit one billion users.
So get sending, and cross your fingers the president sees it.
(H/T: Huffington Post)