Monday, January 30, 2012

U.S. President Barack Obama will be answering questions in a Google+ Hangout on Monday evening.

The president, who has previously participated in digital town halls for Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn, will be hanging out at the White House’s Google+ page from 5:30 p.m. to 6:15 p.m. ET. Obama will be tackling YouTube users’ questions that received the most votes from fellow users.

More than 225,000 people submitted or voted on questions, and six of those participants will be invited to join the live conversation with Obama. The deadline for submitting questions has passed, but anyone can watch the discussion from the White House’s recently-opened Google+ page or on the White House YouTube channel.

The Hangout will be the first all-digital interview from the White House.

The Google team is admittedly “nervous,” Google SVP of engineering Vic Gundotra says in a Google+ post. “You just don’t walk into the West Wing of the the White House and set up computer equipment,” he adds.

On the other side of the aisle, Republican presidential hopefuls Mitt Romney and Newt Gingrich have also hosted Google+ Hangouts.

Obama’s Google+ Hangout bookends a digitally-intensive week for the White House, which crafted a schedule of online events around Obama’s State of the Union address.

 “The White House agreed  it seemed like a great new use of technology to connect people face to face with the president.”

On Jan. 24, the White House invited guests to watch an “enhanced” version of the State of the Union address, which was also streamed online. More than 2 million people watched the address on the White House’s website, which displayed statistics and other information relevant to the president’s speech.

After the address, attendees at the White House and Internet users were invited to submit questions for a live panel of Obama administration officials and advisers, including Secretary of Education Arne Duncan.

Throughout the rest of the week, various administration figures held “office hours,” where they answered questions submitted over social media. Vice President Joseph Biden even got involved by answering questions over Twitter on Thursday afternoon (including one from fake The West Wing character Joshua Lyman).