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White House to use social media to answer questions after tonight's Obama speech

President Barack Obama's administration will be using social media to take on questions and prompt discussions following Obama's final State of the Union address Tuesday night.

The president's annual State of the Union address is set to be held tonight, starting at 9 p.m. He's expected to talk about guns and violence in America; closing the military detention facility in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba; immigration; climate change and the fight against ISIS.

The White House, though, doesn't want it to end when the president walks away from the podium.

Instead, the White House is looking to hold a day-long marathon of discussions involving senior White House officials, members of the Cabinet and members of Congress to engage with American citizens on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and Tumblr.

Calling it Big Block of Cheese Day -- a tip of the hat to President Andrew Jackson's 1837 open house featuring a 1,400-pound block of cheese -- the social media event will engage with people who use the #BigBlockofCheeseDay.

On Tumblr, users should ask questions using the Ask box. Facebook users can post questions in the comments. On Twitter, people should use the hashtag and on Instagram , users can post a photo or video with their question.

According to the White House, First Lady Michelle Obama (@FLOTUS) and Chief of Staff Denis McDonough (@Denis44) , along with Vice President Joe Biden (@VP) , Secretary of Labor Tom Perez (@LaborSec) and Director of the Office of Science & Technology Policy Dr. John Holdren (@WhiteHouseOSTP) will be among the people fielding questions.

People also can watch the State of the Union Address live on the White House website, as well as on the White House YouTube channel.

In past years, the technically savvy Obama administration used social networks like Twitter and Facebook during and following the State of the Union Address to highlight what officials thought were key points in the president's speech.

Obama has been known for using social networks since his first presidential bid to reach out to younger voters, not only informing them about issues but to encourage them to get out and vote as well.

As Obama spent more time in office, his administration kicked up its media efforts, overhauling the White House's website, joining Twitter and Facebook and blogging about issues and big events.

And this week, Big Block of Cheese Day isn't the only social media-focused plan the Obama administration is launching.

The White House reported on Monday that it is launching what it's dubbed the "Official Story" on Snapchat.

By joining Snapchat, the White House is looking to give the young demographic a look at how the administration works behind the scenes.

"At the White House, our digital strategy centers around meeting people where they are," Joshua Miller, director of product management for the White House, said in a blog post. "There are over 100 million daily active Snapchat users... In light of the number of Americans who use the service to consume news and share with their friends, the White House is joining Snapchat to engage this broad cross-section of the population in new and creative ways."

To tune in, Snapchat users simply can add the White House as a friend.

IDG Insider

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