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Tuesday 09 April 2013

Barack Obama launches weekly YouTube broadcasts

Barack Obama, President-Elect of the United States, has introduced his own 21st-century version of the presidential "fireside chat" by launching a regular weekly broadcast on YouTube.

The first broadcast, which aired on the video-sharing website on Saturday, focused heavily on the current global financial crisis, and has already been viewed by almost 700,000 people.

Obama made good use of the internet and modern technology throughout his election campaign, using social networking sites, Twitter, iPhone applications and text messaging to get the vote out. He was rarely seen without his BlackBerry, the mobile email device he may be forced to surrender following security concerns.

Obama has expressed a desire to be the first "internet president". He is in the process of creating a new role within his administration, that of chief technology officer.

The encumbent will be responsible for a wide-ranging remit, managing everything from online child safety to resolving the battle for net neutrality.

Obama is also likely to introduce a laptop computer to the Oval office, and use the web as well as traditional technologies to engage with the electorate.

It will be a marked change from the regimes of outgoing president George W. Bush, who admitted to finding it hard to keep up with modern technology.

Obama's wish to embrace the web has echoes of another president, Franklin D Roosevelt, who embraced the emerging technology of his time, the radio, to make a weekly address from the White House, complete with roaring log fire in the background.

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