Former President Barack Obama appeared to open up lines of communication to the public on Tuesday when he tweeted out a phone number with a Chicago area code asking how people were doing and what they were thinking about the election.
"All right, let's try something new," he tweeted. "If you’re in the United States, send me a text at 773-365-9687 — I want to hear how you're doing, what's on your mind, and how you're planning on voting this year."
All right, let's try something new. If you’re in the United States, send me a text at 773-365-9687 — I want to hear how you're doing, what's on your mind, and how you're planning on voting this year.— Barack Obama (@BarackObama) September 23, 2020
I'll be in touch from time to time to share what's on my mind, too. pic.twitter.com/NX91bSqbtG
A simple test text to the number yielded an invitation to join Community.com, a service that enables celebrities and other high-profile personalities like former presidents to broadcast messages under the guise of personal conversations. The service was popular with lots of people who drew in fans via popular videos on social media as well as actor Ashton Kutcher, Diddy, Paul McCartney, and former Obama speechwriter Jon Favreau.
Community is a tech startup that launched in early 2019 after raising $35 million. They stated their mission as wanting to connect stars, athletes, and other high-profile personalities with their fans in the vein of Twitter's earliest days before it was invaded by swarms of bots and trolls. Earlier this year, Community said it was not working with politicians; clearly, things have changed.
The initial automated response from Obama shared a hopeful message of keeping in touch and promising to share what he was thinking.
"Hey! It's Barack," the message read. "Click the link to sign up so I can respond directly to you. I won't be able to get to everything, but I'll be in touch to share what's on my mind and I want to hear from you, too. Let's do this."
Some were skeptical of Obama's true intention behind his tweet full of concern for how Americans are doing and whether he really wanted to answer tough questions or just send out more marketing.
The jovial attempt by the former president to personalize his relationship with supporters on social media comes on the heels of the release of an interim report from the Senate Homeland Security and Finance Committees about the past relationship between Joe Biden's son Hunter and the Ukrainian government.
That investigation, which has taken place over the past few months, has been seeking more information about the "extensive and complex financial transactions," between Ukrainian energy firm Bursima Holdings and Hunter Biden.
Although the committees say their investigative efforts have been greatly hindered by Democrats, their initial 87-page report found the Obama administration's behavior during the time in question to be seriously troubling.
"This investigation has illustrated the extent to which officials within the Obama administration ignored the glaring warning signs when the vice president’s son joined the board of a company owned by a corrupt Ukrainian oligarch," the report said.