@POTUS And The Social Media Transition of Power

By Elliot Carter

On January 20th, 2017 the @POTUS Twitter account will transition from Barack Obama to the 45th President of the United States. The social media transition strategy was announced on Monday in a blog post that will take its place among the foundational texts of the American republic.

Here are three questions that ran through my head when I read the news:

Will the next president inherit Obama’s followers?

Yes - the presidential account will keep its 11 million followers. But 30,000 of Obama’s tweets (character count ~ 4 million) will transition to a new @POTUS44 account. Other administration accounts (@WhiteHouse, @FLOTUS, @PressSec, @VP) will also be moved over to new “44” handles to create room for the incoming administration. 

Have they reserved future @POTUS accounts?

No – I checked immediately. @POTUS45 is a suspended account, @POTUS46 is an egg, and @POTUS47 is owned by a young man who likes to tweet about Drake and The Walking Dead AMC show. Future presidencies will be heading into murky waters as they negotiate with Twitter about claiming these accounts on behalf of the executive branch. In some cases Twitter has sided with cyber speculators who obtained first claim to in demand handles; @Advil, for example, is owned by Abdul Dremali. He says that Advil was his nickname in high school.

How often will the “44” accounts tweet?

Not at all - Obama’s “44” account description says that it will be “maintained by @USNatArchives and will serve as an archive of Obama Administration content. The accounts will be “frozen in time,” similar to the archived George W. Bush White House site.

It’s a shame, in the event of a Trump win, it is delightful to imagine a retired Joe Biden or Josh Earnest inciting 3 am POTUS tweetstorms from their official “44” administration accounts. 

If you're interested in talking about design, digital strategy or politics you can contact Elliot directly.


Elliot is an Account Associate at kglobal. His focus is on designing elegant and useful collateral for kglobal’s digital accounts. Elliot writes about political communications and life in Washington, DC. Follow him on Twitter @ElliotCarter10, read his tips on the kglobal blog or e-mail him.