Team Obama Told to Ditch Instant Messaging

Obama's staffers give up their favorite lifeline
By Amelia Atlas,  Newser User
Posted Jan 18, 2009 6:15 PM CST
Barack Obama holds his BlackBerry before holding a conference call with supporters gathering at an event in Charlotte, N.C., in St. Louis, Mo., Monday, July 7, 2008.   (AP Photo/Jae C. Hong)
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(Newser) – Team Obama will be chatting in the hall and by phone, Politico reports, because instant messaging just got the boot. Lawyers told them this week that programs like AIM and GChat, still staples of their daily operations, can't be used in the White House. "They just told us flat out we couldn't IM in the White House," a senior staffer said. "It sucks," said another. "It's really going to slow us down."

Experts say casual IMs can be embarrassing when they're released—and they will be, by law, 5 years after the president leaves office. So will any government information that staffers post on Facebook and Twitter. One officlal fears that the IM ban will put "the president and all of his top staff into a bubble. They're living in the hothouse" without IM, he says, "and strange plants grow in hothouses."