Before today, citizens regularly communicated with President Obama through the traditional route -- snail mail.
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But now, the White House is offering a new way for people to communicate with the president.
The White House launched a new Facebook Messenger bot today that allows users to send messages to President Obama through the White House Facebook page.
“The White House's Messenger bot, a first of its kind for any government the world over, will make it as easy as messaging your closest friends,” explained Chief Digital Officer Jason Goldman in a White House blog post.
To contact the president, users can go to the White House’s Facebook page and click “Message,” or open the Facebook messenger app and type in “The White House” as the “friend” to message. Users will then be directed to a chat screen, much like they would ordinarily message their friends.
But letter-writing fans, don't be alarmed -- the president will continue to receive his 10 letters a day (also known as "LADs"), in addition to the new Facebook messages. The LADs tradition began when President Obama took office in 2009, and has continued as a way for people to share stories with the president and for him to keep in touch with what is going on in the country.
Goldman said he hopes that the Facebook Messenger bot will give users a new platform to connect with the president.
“No matter where you are or what time of day it is, it’s possible to connect instantaneously, in real time, to people all over the world. One of our jobs at the White House is to keep up,” Goldman added.
As quoted in the White House blog post, President Obama said the messages are important “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.”
This Facebook Messenger bot is just the latest in the White House’s efforts to engage in digital technology. Last year, the president launched his own Twitter page, and First Lady Michelle Obama added her own Snapchat account in June. The White House Facebook page itself has over 7 million likes.