Obama to follow State of the Union with Google+ Hangout

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US President Barack Obama’s administration is renowned for its use of social media. His election campaign relied heavily on Facebook and Twitter, and the president also has accounts on the likes of Foursquare and Instagram. It should hardly be surprising, therefore that he would also embrace the Hangouts feature in Google+.

After Obama delivers his State of Union address, says Google, he “will answer a selection of top-voted questions…in a live-streamed interview”.

According to Google, people will be able to submit their questions on the Whitehouse YouTube channel in text or video format. From there they will also be able to vote on their favourites.

The internet giant adds that “several participants with top-voted questions will be selected to join the President in the Google+ Hangout to take part in the conversation live”.

Obama is not, however, the first global authority figure to take part in a publicly broadcast Hangout. Perhaps the most prominent Hangout to date was between Emeritus Archbishop Desmond Tutu and The Dalai Lama.

The two were forced to turn to technology after the South African government refused the exiled Tibetan leader entry into the country for Tutu’s birthday celebration.

The Hangout between the spiritual leaders had a largely global audience, with only 19% of the conversation coming from South Africa — the country in which Tutu’s birthday celebrations were taking place.

The upcoming State of the Union is a particularly critical for Obama as he seeks re-election. Other politicians have caught up where Obama once lead. The Republican opposition will issue its own YouTube response to the address.

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