President Obama Hits Up The Youths On Tumblr

The President took to Tumblr today, answering users’ questions on topics relating to education.

It was another example of the President using alternative mediums to attract the attention of young Americans. Notably, and infamously to some, the President answered questions on “Between Two Ferns” with Zach Galifianakis to promote That effort led to a spike in traffic to the website.

The President’s digital trip to Tumblr, albeit taking place physically in Washington, was not without humor. The above fist-bump gif was just the start. The President answered a question from Tumblr user ‘HaikuMoon,’ which led to general guffaws, and then the following, from the user:

Screen Shot 2014-06-10 at 1.55.08 PM


Screen Shot 2014-06-10 at 2.13.31 PM

Welcome to 2014.

The President went on to compare Tumblr founder David Karp to NBA superstar LeBron James, making the point that people who achieve peak success — the President cited Microsoft founder Bill Gates and Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg — are rare. Karp of course sold Tumblr to Yahoo for more than a billion dollars, placing him in the unofficial unicorn club.

It will be harder to gauge the impact of the Tumblr session than it was the “Two Ferns” episode, as the latter had a simple goal: Drive web traffic, which is eminently trackable. Spreading knowledge about student loan relief is slightly less so.

While it can seem slightly odd to see the world’s most powerful person take to comedy shows, and a microblogging service synonymous with whimsical gifs, it’s reasonable: The percentage of the nation that is reached by traditional news programs in the evening is in decline. And, when you need to reach a specific demographic, you go to where they congregate.

On other fronts, the President condemned a political culture in Washington that has failed to address rampant gun violence on school campuses.