While pundits chattered about how groundbreaking it was to have the President of the United States interacting with ordinary Americans on Facebook, President Obama's 'historic' appearance at Facebook's headquarters was largely a snooze-fest.
“What Facebook allows us to do is make sure this isn’t just a one-way conversation; makes sure that not only am I speaking to you but you're also speaking back and we're in a conversation, were in a dialogue.” Obama marveled during the introduction.
That's the way Facebook is supposed to work, but Facebook users were basically served an event engineered to promote the President's agenda with a grandiose soundtrack.
Zuckerberg asked the first question, which triggered an answer from the president that lasted nearly 10 minutes.
“All right, so — sorry, don't mean to cut off the applause.” Zuckerberg said subtly prompted to the silent crowd that responded on cue with a polite applause. “That was a very thorough answer.” he added.
“No, they were — they were stunned by the length of that answer. But its complicated stuff.” Obama responded lightly.
The rest of the town hall event dragged on as only 4 of the thousands of questions sent by Facebook were selected by Mark Zuckerberg. (The other three questions were asked by Facebook employees)
It wasn't until the end, did Obama get his most interesting question, as Byron York reported, when a question from a user in Texas asked the president if he made any mistakes during his first term.
Part of the momentum that drives social media is the ability for each individual to add to the larger conversation and have their voice heard. If the president fails to engage that key element with his followers they will ignore his re-election message.