Why Michelle Obama's Twitter Account Will Be Less Political Than the First One

J.K. Trotter

Michelle Obama turns 49 years old todayTo celebrate, the First Lady gave her White House staff (or, perhaps more accurately, Obama's staff gave her) a new Twitter account, @FLOTUS, where both parties can tweet about exercise initiatives, the White House Easter egg roll, and of course Bo Obama, the First Dog.

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We know what you're thinking! Didn't the First Lady... already have a Twitter account? Yes, but @MichelleObama served as a campaign account — she and her staff weren't, and aren't, allowed to use it for official White House business. Remember tweets like this, during the campaign?

Are you fired up? Are you ready to go? If not, this will help: OFA.BO/vSxMgV

— Michelle Obama (@MichelleObama) September 20, 2012

(The link goes to a YouTube video produced by Obama for America.)

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The First Lady's new Twitter account (which, so far, has issued a single tweet) highlights one of the curiosities of political campaigning on social media. The incumbent candidates of the 2012 election — President Barack Obama and Vice President Joe Biden — each maintained two separate Twitter accounts: one for campaigning, and another for official government business. Under @JoeBiden, for example, Biden tweeted:

VP Biden on Romney: “Guess what? He never did answer the question of whether or not women are entitled to equal pay for equal work.”

— Joe Biden (@JoeBiden) November 1, 2012

But under @VP, Biden stuck to photo-ops, boosterism, and the like:

So proud of our @usolympic athletes representing our country at the London #Olympics. Go #TeamUSA!--VP

— Office of VP Biden (@VP) August 1, 2012

Under @BarackObama, the Obama campaign tweeted blatant attacks on his opponent, Mitt Romney:

“I trust President Obama. I do not trust Mitt Romney. And that's really all I need to know.”—Joe, a Purple Heart veteran from PA #VoteObama

— Barack Obama (@BarackObama) November 6, 2012

But he kept his White House account, @WhiteHouse, clean of partisan demagoguery:

"During the darkness of the storm, I think we also saw what's brightest in America" -President Obama on #Sandy. Watch: on.wh.gov/6Sn31z

— The White House (@whitehouse) October 30, 2012

The divide is especially stark on Twitter, but now that the campaign is over the Obama administration is leveraging their vast campaign list for support. Yesterday, for example, Joe Biden emailed supporters a link to a White House feature detailing the administration's plans to address gun violence.