News

Obama Using New Media to Reach Ghanaians

Multimedia

Audio

Watch or listen to President Obama's speech from Ghana live beginning at 1230 UTC, Saturday, 11 July

President Barack Obama arrives in Ghana Friday on his first trip to Sub-Saharan Africa since assuming the presidency and once again Mr. Obama will make widespread use of emerging information technologies to reach out to as many people as possible. Mr. Obama made the use of the internet and other technologies a mainstay of his campaign for the White House and he has continued that trend on trips overseas.

Traditional radio and TV outlets in Ghana are trumpeting President Barack Obama's two-day visit to their country, hoping it will mark a turning point in their history.

Back in Washington, Mr. Obama's new media team is hard at work figuring out how to get the president's message to as many Africans as possible using more high tech methods.

Macon Phillips is the president's director for new media. He explains how even in Ghana people are using popular social networking sites like Facebook and Twitter to interact and ask the president questions.  

Phillips says the goal behind this strategy is to allow more people abroad to voice their opinion about the United States.

"I think that it's less about trying to market the President in a positive way, but it's more about having a conversation and real engagement with people that hasn't happened before," Phillips said.

Obama has used technology and his popularity abroad to his advantage.

In Cairo last month, the White House also translated President Obama's speech into 13 languages and disseminated it by e-mail and web video worldwide.

Phillips says he's has had to learn a lot about how different cultures get their information.

"There is a big difference in the way people consume information across the world, so what is really popular in Asia is very different than the United States and is very different than Africa, or Europe, or really there's so much variety out there," Phillips said. "One of the most exciting things about Africa is how comfortable people are with their phones."

Phillips explains how Africans can send messages to a specific number on their phone, known as a short code.

"If you're in Africa and you want to send a message to the president, you want to ask him a question, welcome him to Africa, or just comment on things in general, you can use the following short codes... If you're in Ghana the short code is 1731," he said.

A state visit by the president is not just about pomp and closed-door meetings anymore, it's a chance for participation.

Be it criticism or praise, Phillips says this feedback from people in different countries will help President Obama shape his foreign policy.

SHORT CODES TO SEND OBAMA A TEXT
Ghana: 1731
Nigeria: 32969
South Africa: 31958
Kenya: 5683
ACROSS AFRICA:
614-186-01934
456-099-10343

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Poverty, Ignorance Force Underage Girls Into Marriagei
X
May 21, 2015 4:14 AM
The recent marriage of a 17-year old Chechen girl to a local police chief who was 30 years older and already had a wife caused an outcry in Russia and beyond. The bride was reportedly forced to marry and her parents were intimidated into giving their consent. The union spotlighted yet again the plight of many underage girls in developing countries. Zlatica Hoke reports poverty, ignorance and fear are behind the practice, especially in Asia and Africa.
Video

Video Poverty, Ignorance Force Underage Girls Into Marriage

The recent marriage of a 17-year old Chechen girl to a local police chief who was 30 years older and already had a wife caused an outcry in Russia and beyond. The bride was reportedly forced to marry and her parents were intimidated into giving their consent. The union spotlighted yet again the plight of many underage girls in developing countries. Zlatica Hoke reports poverty, ignorance and fear are behind the practice, especially in Asia and Africa.
Video

Video South Korea Marks Gwangju Uprising Anniversary

South Korea this week marked the 35th anniversary of a protest that turned deadly. The Gwangju Uprising is credited with starting the country’s democratic revolution after it was violently quelled by South Korea’s former military rulers. But as Jason Strother reports, some observers worry that democracy has recently been eroded.
Video

Video California’s Water System Not Created To Handle Current Drought

The drought in California is moving into its fourth year. While the state's governor is mandating a reduction in urban water use, most of the water used in California is for agriculture. But both city dwellers and farmers are feeling the impact of the drought. Some experts say the state’s water system was not created to handle long periods of drought. Elizabeth Lee reports from Ventura County, an agricultural region just northwest of Los Angeles.
Video

Video How to Clone a Mammoth: The Science of De-Extinction

An international team of scientists has sequenced the complete genome of the woolly mammoth. Led by the Swedish Museum of Natural History in Stockholm, the work opens the door to recreate the huge herbivore, which last roamed the Earth 4,000 years ago. VOA’s Rosanne Skirble considers the science of de-extinction and its place on the planet
Video

Video Blind Boy Defines His Life with Music

Cole Moran was born blind. He also has cognitive delays and other birth defects. He has to learn everything by ear. Nevertheless, the 12-year-old has had an insatiable love for music since he was born. VOA’s June Soh introduces us to the young phenomenal harmonica player.
Video

Video Women to March for Peace Between Koreas

Prominent female activists from around the world plan to march through the demilitarized zone dividing North and South Korea to call for peace between the two neighbors, divided for more than 60 years. The event, taking place May 24, marks the International Women's Day for Peace and Disarmament and has been approved by both Koreas. Zlatica Hoke has more.
Video

Video Drug Use Rises in Afghanistan Following Record High Poppy Crops

Afghanistan has seen record high poppy crops during the last few years - and the result has been an alarming rise in illegal drug use and addiction in the war-torn country. VOA's Ayesha Tanzeem has this report from Kabul.
Video

Video America’s Front Lawn Gets Overhaul

America’s front yard is getting a much-needed overhaul. Almost two kilometers of lawn stretch from the U.S. Capitol to the Washington Monument. But the expanse of grass known as the National Mall has taken a beating over the years. Now workers are in the middle of restoring the lush, green carpet that fronts some of Washington’s best-known sights. VOA’s Steve Baragona took a look.

VOA Blogs