Obama, Zuckerberg Invitation To “Participate” In 420 Forum Mislead Facebook Users

Today’s online townhall with Barack Obama greatly disappointed me. And judging by the comments after the “interactive meeting,” I’m not the only one.

Alright, so I know that technically town halls by definition do not require public input, and are generally just an informal public meeting. However, I made a page on Facebook and am curious if others think Obama can do more to engage the American people and respond to their concerns.

The town hall event’s description mislead Facebook users into thinking Barack Obama would take their questions and respond to the most popular ones. Instead, the questions were filtered, which only served to squash potential dialogue between Barack Obama and his constituents.

Questions about online poker legislation, immigration, and marijuana laws were all ignored in favor of easier topics such The Housing Crisis and The National Debt , without saying anything truly meaningful, such as…solutions. We know there’s a housing crisis. In fact, The Panic of 2008, a documentary about the housing crisis, is interviewing economists around the country who predicted that obvious crisis before it ever happened. This isn’t news we want to hear about. We want to hear some of this Change we’ve been waiting on.

By the way, Mr. Zuckerberg, offering to pay more taxes doesn’t appease me. I’m a poor college student. I want a gold standard back, the ability to play poker online, and the freedom to smoke a damn joint if I feel like it while at the same time not wasting limited tax dollars on prosecuting and locking up non-violent offenders. Those would all help contribute to the economy without needing to raise taxes any more than they already are. Thanks for your contribution, but I don’t want to be taxed into slavery.

Mr. President, if you’re going to target the youth vote and make an “effort to hear from the American people” (as White House spokeswoman Jen Psaki said,) why not make the most of it? Keep track of the frequency and popularity of the questions. Makes sense to me that that information would be useful.

Please allow voting tallies to commence again during your next online townhall, Mr. President. It serves as a gauge of the online audience opinion. Since the typical internet user is a part of your much cherished “youth” vote that propelled you to victory in 2008, please do more to reach out to the Facebook generation.

If you agree, or if you just want to send the point that the genius of the Internet, and Facebook by extension, is the ability to ENGAGE and INTERACT with each other, in real time, then “like” this page .

Pretending to engage constituents while speaking through a script of political talking points goes against the principles that made Facebook the most popular social networking site to date. Hopefully Obama and Zuckerberg will be more open to engaging the youth in the next online forum. If you won’t listen now, Mr. President, there’s always 2012.



2 thoughts on “Obama, Zuckerberg Invitation To “Participate” In 420 Forum Mislead Facebook Users

  1. I think the problem with youth today is they expect the maximum amount of personal engagement for the least amount of effort. Trying to connect with President Obama through an hour session on Facebook is like trying to empty the ocean with a dixie cup. It will take a lot more engagement than Facebook to get the attention of any president. People will find an excuse to complain about anything. Complaining is easy and doesn’t require much effort.

    Posted by Carl Olsen | April 21, 2011, 4:52 am
    • I wanted to make the point that voting was removed from this town hall to avoid being asked the hard questions. After talking with a few friends, I decided to keep the Facebook page but change the name. I agree that Facebook is not going to solve everything; I am just attempting to take advantage of every potential opportunity.

      Posted by jsnsoc8 | April 21, 2011, 11:49 am

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