WASHINGTON (Reuters) - President Barack Obama holds a “town hall” webcast on the economy and jobs on Twitter on Wednesday, but his answers are likely to be longer than the average tweet.
The White House Twitter account, which has 2.2 million followers, invited questions to be submitted to a new account “@townhall” marked with the hashtag “AskObama,” for the session that begins at 2 p.m. ET.
The online service’s normally ironclad 140-character limit — the written “Tweet” format — will apply to the questions the president receives but not to his answers.
The White House used Twitter last week to announce Wednesday’s event.
Obama, who has been praised for his oratorical skills and criticized at times for being too verbose, will appear on the webcast in a discussion moderated by Twitter co-founder Jack Dorsey, the company’s executive chairman.
Early responses to the invitation to send questions drew queries on topics including green jobs, innovation and corporations.
Americans’ pessimism about the sluggish U.S. economy, especially the 9.1 percent jobless rate, may be the biggest obstacle to Obama’s hopes of winning re-election next year.
The webcast will also include a “TweetUp,” Twitter’s term for a meeting of people who use Twitter.
The White House makes regular use of social media as a way to get its message to a wide range of Americans and hear from them directly. Obama started writing the occasional tweet himself last month, and his Twitter feed is one of the most popular on the system, with 8.9 million followers.
The president visited Facebook in April for a town hall with the popular social network site’s founder, Mark Zuckerberg.
Reporting by Patricia Zengerle; Editing by Doina Chiacu and Jerry Norton