When I was in first or second grade I wrote a letter to President Bill Clinton. A month or two later I got one back, and it was signed by him.
I was convinced at the time President Clinton personally wrote the response, dropping the responsibilities of the presidency to get back to the pressing matters addressed in my letter.
Two decades or so later, as a cynical and hardhearted 28-year-old, I know it was likely an automatic response sent out by a member of his staff he probably never even communicated with.
Today, instead of writing a letter and never really knowing whether President Obama actually wrote the response, leaving you feeling hopeless and empty inside, you can write him a Facebook message.
President Obama has revolutionized how the leader of the free world communicates with the public. As the first president of the social media age, this was inevitable, but the way he's taken advantage of it is definitely commendable.
The president reads 10 letters every night from American citizens. He definitely receives a lot more, but his job makes it a bit difficult to get around to reading and responding to all of them.
While reading the letters is a wonderful tradition, Facebook Messenger offers the president a more contemporary opportunity to communicate with the public.
Jason Goldman, the White House's chief digital officer, elaborated on all of this in a blog post. He said,
If you want to send a message to President Obama, you can go to the White House's Facebook page.
Next time you're on your phone and someone asks you what you're doing, you can literally say, "Just writing a quick Facebook message to President Obama — no big deal."