The Kennedys of the Digital Age? I’d say so.
Barack and Michelle Obama know how to use social media. And they know how to evoke emotion. Barack Obama’s success in 2008 and 2012 depended heavily on his campaign’s masterful use of digital media to draw in an unprecedented level of small donations from across the country. Today, Barack and Michelle continue to reign when it comes to social media.
Michelle has a total of 40.8 million followers on Instagram, while Barack trails her with 30.9 million. Despite Michelle’s nearly 10 million lead on her husband, Barack leads the incumbent Donald J. Trump by almost 10 million followers on the photo-driven app. When it comes to Twitter, Obama leads Trump by 36.5 million followers. If we’re judging based on follower count, Trump sure isn’t the genius he claims to be.
In previous years, the Obama’s have posted summer playlists, Valentine’s playlists, book lists, movie lists, and even a March Madness bracket to their social media channels. Their recommendations are both hip and intellectual, guaranteeing each of them a spot in an ever-evolving popular culture.
The Obama’s are a liberal institutionalist’s dream. Despite advocating for many policies that were more centrist than progressive, the former president’s charisma, charm, and humor — qualities showcased on his social media — attract a wide range of liberals. Now consider Michelle’s use of media alongside Barack’s, and we have an emblematic power couple that resembles none other than the lasting fame of John and Jackie Kennedy.
What’s more? The two are known for paying tribute to one another on their social media accounts, and today is Barack Obama’s birthday. That’s right, the former president was born on August 4, 1961, in Honolulu, Hawaii. Birthdays provide just only one of the various opportunities to profess one’s love, so let’s take a look at how the two have paid tribute to one another on their birthdays, their anniversaries, and other occasions.
We begin with their most recent anniversary, on October 3, 2019. As expected, the two shared photos to commemorate one another publicly. Michelle posted this photo.
While Barack posted this one.
Moving into the first month of 2020, before most people in the Western Hemisphere had even heard of the novel coronavirus, Barack Obama posted this photo in celebration of his wife’s birthday on January 17. If you ask me, these photos convey a sense of nostalgia for teenage romance. They’re fun and they’re flirty.
Then, on Valentine’s Day, Michelle posted this picture of her husband and their kids playing in the snow.
While Barack posted this photo of him and Michelle… grooving? Again, they’re fun and flirty.
On Mother’s Day, Barack posted this photo of him and Michelle before their time in the White House.
And on Father’s Day, Michelle posted this sentimental photo of her family.
Just one week ago, on July 28, Michelle posted this photo of her and her husband to promote her new podcast. Presumably in their home, the two appear relaxed, easy-going, and conversational. I couldn’t help but notice Barack’s sneakers (an unusual sight on the former POTUS) and the small bottle of hand sanitizer on the table near Michelle (a typical sight during the present times).
And most recently, Michelle’s expected tribute to her husband on his 59th birthday. Unsurprisingly, their children made it into the picture as well.
While the Obamas may have a very public relationship that highlights the aesthetically-pleasing moments of their almost 30 years together, Michelle has opened up about the struggles that their marriage has faced. In her documentary film Becoming, Michelle talks about how the two attended marriage counseling in the past. While the Obama’s may present a sort of power over liberal popular culture akin to that of the Kennedy’s, and while their social media presence may allude to a relationship devoid of conflict, Michelle’s honesty is a refreshing reminder that social media often paints inaccurate narratives.