The White House is pushing Congress to approve the nuclear deal with Iran, and the Obama administration wants you to understand why through a Twitter account, @TheIranDeal, launched Tuesday morning. "Get the facts on the #IranDeal. Tweet us your questions, and we'll set the record straight," the account says.
The White House website also has a page explaining the administration's stance. But the role of the Twitter handle is to directly engage citizens and provide insight on the topic. An hour after launch, the account had 2,000 followers, and it is following journalists such as New York Times columnist Nicholas Kristof and CNN national correspondent John King, along with White House officials.
— The Iran Deal (@TheIranDeal) July 21, 2015
The account already has garnered the easy hate that comes with launch a public online campaign.
@TheIranDeal Bulls--- it does.
— The Real Bepo (D) (@TheRealBepo) July 21, 2015
@TheIranDeal Until of course, they cheat.
— Darien Hakimian, DDS (@DarienHakimian) July 21, 2015
The launch of @TheIranDeal is the first time the administration has created a Twitter account dedicated to one issue, Politico reported. Senior officials told the media site the effort is part of a larger social media strategy for the nuclear deal.
Republican leaders have slammed the deal. A 60-day congressional review period began Monday. "A yes vote takes all the leverage off the table, locks in the deal, and makes a conflict in the Middle East much more likely," Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., said at an event in New York Monday.
Twitter already had emerged as a forum to debate the Iran deal. As Politico noted, Secretary of State John Kerry posted about his support for the agreement on Twitter and other officials have paid to give their tweets more visibility on the network. In the last 30 days, nearly 470,000 tweets with the hashtag #IranDeal have been sent, according to social analytics firm Topsy. The sentiment score is 30, meaning that more negative messages have resonated.
— John Kerry (@JohnKerry) July 15, 2015
The new Twitter account, run by White House officials, will provide a public forum for voters and Congress to engage. But using Twitter as a question-and-answer forum as well as deploying campaign hashtags hasn't always been the most effective medium for positive engagement, especially in politics. For example, Republican presidential contender Chris Christie's campaign hashtag #TellingItLikeItIs garnered a slew of responses from the opposition, pulling a negative-skewing sentiment score of 17.