In preparation for tonight's farewell address, I spent the past few days scrolling through the Obama administration's archives. Instead of going through National Archives
, as I might have done for past presidents, I went straight to @POTUS, @FLOTUS, @VP, @BarackObama, and @WhiteHouse.
As the president whose term coincided with the rise of Instagram, Snapchat, and still relatively young Twitter, Obama had the unique challenge of defining how he spoke to the nation online. He wasn't always posting to the sites personally — he wasn't given his own Twitter account until May 2015 — but all of his administration's accounts were unified under his values. As I went through two terms worth of tweets, Instagrams, and Snapchats, I was struck by three qualities that never wavered: A sense of humor, respect for women, and love, in all its forms.
In 10 days, these accounts will be wiped clean. The official handles (and their followers) will be owned by the Trump administration and we'll see what is sure to be a very different era of presidential leadership online. Posts from Obama will live on in archives, but it's worth taking a moment to look back on the precedent he established.
Ahead, 21 of the most iconic moments of Obama's social media legacy. Think we missed any? Leave a comment and share your favorites.