President Obama sends his first tweet

While visiting American Red Cross HQ, Obama takes on Twitter

Monday was a big day for Twitter.

President Barack Obama sent his very first tweet yesterday during a visit to the American Red Cross headquarters in Washington D.C.

The president, who noted in November that he had never sent a tweet, has a very active Twitter account. Obviously, a ghost writer -- make that a ghost Twitterer -- is behind the @barackobama Twitter account, which has more than 3,150,000 followers.

The presidential tweet didn't even go up on that account. The message, which was about the President and First Lady visiting the Red Cross' disaster operation center, was posted on the @redcross page.

The tweet itself was in the third person: "President Obama and the First Lady are here visiting our disaster operation center right now."

It appears that someone else actually may have written the tweet, then the president pushed the "update" button to send it out. The next tweet on the @redcross page was: "President Obama pushed the button on the last tweet. It was his first ever tweet!"

Obama himself might not be an avid Twitterer, but his staff is known for being big social networking users.

After making good use of sites like Facebook, Myspace and Twitter during his presidential campaign, Obama and his administration have been keeping up his image as a tech-savvy president by establishing a presence on a variety of social networking sites.

The White House has joined Facebook, Twitter and MySpace, putting out information about ways to get donations to the relief effort in Haiti, updates on health care reform and news about the H1N1 virus.

And last March, Obama gave everyday citizens, not just journalists, the opportunity to ask him questions during an online town hall meeting. The Web 2.0 experiment drew 92,928 users who submitted 104,111 questions and cast 3,606,658 votes for queries they wanted answered.

Sharon Gaudin covers the Internet and Web 2.0, emerging technologies, and desktop and laptop chips for Computerworld. Follow Sharon on Twitter at @sgaudin, send e-mail to sgaudin@computerworld.com or subscribe to Sharon's RSS feed .

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