Robert Gibbs announced this afternoon that he's activated a Twitter account. PressSec is his Twitter name which probably means it was grabbed up awhile ago and perhaps he thought the three-day weekend would be a good time to ease into it.
Last summer he told C-SPAN that Twitter was blocked on White House computers so he was unable to join the Twitterverse (see video below).
Gibbs hasn't gone crazy and started trash-talking his followers like Chad Ocho Cinco (which would be awesome). Instead, he's only thrown out one lonely tweet where he meekly asks for some guidance.
PressSec: "Learning about "the twitter" - easing into this with first tweet - any tips?" Gibbs asked.
The question packs a powerful punch. He's already nearing 7,000 followers at the time of this posting and he's received plenty of tips and many other "pointers."
What to do
Some followers were happy to dispense advice. Real advice, like:
dynomitethings: The 1st tip is free: Don't refer to it as "The Twitter."
patrickroddy: @PressSec Try not to make it all business. This can be great tool to humanize yourself.
This one seemed particularly prescient:
Kajivar: @PressSec Ignore the anonymous crazies who are going to spam you with vicious insults. That'd be my biggest tip.
Because plenty of people went straight for the jugular. Like:
fleckman: Shouldn't Gibbs new twitter acct be @PressSUK instead of @PressSec
rosecityken: @PressSec say more here than you do in press conferences, you will cut out like 250 "uhhhh's" in like 5 mins time.
On the other hand...
Others seemed genuinely happy he was online:
patricdhawaan: @PressSec Keep up the good work. Disregard the nut-jobs. Moderate Republicans like me see through the Fox news filter.
NathanSpencer: @PressSec Welcome to Twitter. I'm not gonna lie, I kinda love watching your briefings while at work.
He can handle it
One thing's for certain, Gibbs knows how to handle himself. He's proven himself in the White House briefing room -- which is no small task. He knows going in that the disaffected will be more prone to speak up on Twitter.
So it's unlikely he's going to lose any sleep over any 140-character tirades launched at him.
But still it will be fun to watch how he uses the medium.
Why'd he decide to join Twitter now? Like many people, he observed someone else using it and it looked like fun. In this instance, he credits one of his deputies Bill Burton for the decision.
He told Politico that he "watched burton’s acct during president’s visit to the briefing room and it was fascinating to see what people are thinking, writing, doing in real time."
"You know," Gibbs added, "plus I’ve got all this free time on my hands!"
What are your favorite tweets directed at Gibbs? Let us know about them on Twitter.