Why Did the White House Delete Bush's Tweets?

Barack Obama's Webheads are getting ready to launch a new Twitter feed for President Change. But the White House already had a Twitter account. It has disappeared down the memory hole.

Given the widespread belief that Obama invented the Internet, many will scoff at the idea that the Bush White House had a Twitter account. But it did — and the administration handed over twitter.com/thewhitehouse at noon on Inauguration Day, just like it did with the whitehouse.gov website. Google still has the old account, with Obama's tweets, in its cache.

Valleywag alum Paul Boutin suggests on Gadgetwise that this is a simple rationalization of accounts, matching the definite-article-free "whitehouse" username the Obama team uses on Flickr and YouTube. But Obama's Twitterers didn't just change the username on the account; they started fresh, wiping out all of the White House's existing Twitter followers, and the entire archive of messages.

Perhaps it's safe to assume that the dwindling fans of the Bush White House wouldn't want to transfer their allegiances. And many of the Bush tweets were just broken pointers to pages on 43's now-archived website. But there ought to be something about the White House that transcends its occupant. A new president doesn't move his residence from 1600 Pennsylvania Ave. There's something about this move that smacks of change for change's sake.

Update: It's alive! The White House Twitter account, previously protected, is now tweeting. Nothing personally typed by Obama yet.