Gibbs Twitter math: 4 days, 8 tweets, 22,500 followers

February 16, 2010

NUCEAR-IRAN/MISSILES-USABasically all White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs had to do was turn up … and they followed by the thousands.

Gibbs launched his first tweet on Twitter @PressSec this Saturday asking for micro-blogging tips and by Tuesday he had more than 22,500 followers. (OK so there may be a touch of envy from some of us still struggling in the three-digit follower realm).

Asked whether he was sending all the tweets — eight so far — himself, Gibbs replied: “Inexplicably, yes.”

It was Gibbs’ first press briefing since he launched on Twitter. So of course all his comments about tweeting were immediately tweeted by White House reporters.

Deputy Press Secretary Bill Burton (with 58 tweets and 5,000 followers, but who’s counting?) started tweeting earlier this year. And he tweeted while Gibbs spoke Tuesday to correct what he saw as a wrong tweet about Yucca Mountain, which the reporter subsequently deleted.

Gibbs has used most of his eight tweets to point out stories he likes.

“It’s been fascinating to watch just over the few days since I’ve joined it,” he said.

Gibbs joked that he has found the 140-character length limit for tweets a bit of a constraint, and said, “I’m trying to figure out how to shorten — there’s a whole language, obviously, and typing with numbers and symbols that has evaded me.” FILM-BUZZ/

He still needs to get down the lingo.  “I could have Twittered that,” Gibbs said at one point in the briefing. Er, that should be “tweeted.”

Gibbs’ and Burton’s tweets are subject to the Presidential Records Act which means they could be archived along with any responses to them, similar to White House emails.

“As I say that, just as anybody wouldn’t fear sending an email, I don’t think anybody should fear going on Web sites and reading what we write or responding to what we write based on the Presidential Records Act.  It’s simply intended to preserve the paper and the electronic records of the administration,” Gibbs said.

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Photo Credit: Reuters/Jim Young (Gibbs at press briefing in September), Reuters/Mario Anzuoni (Twitter page displayed on laptop computer)

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