Obama's answers not short, but tweet

The US President's first ever Twitter town hall meeting proves a test for his notorious oratory.

In an effort to reach out to modern America, Barack Obama held his first ever witter town hall meeting on 6 July, in which he answered questions directed through the social networking site, Twitter.

For over an hour, the President answered questions submitted by the public using the hashtag #AskObama. The questions were selected by Twitter staff, who relied partly on an algorithm that measured which questions were the most popular.

One of the questions came from house speaker and Republican leader, John Boehner, who tweeted:

"After embarking on a record spending binge that's left us deeper in debt, where are the jobs?"

The majority of questions were on the economy, with several on energy and environmental issues. A question asking what Obama would "do differently" prompted an answer about the difficulty of solving the housing crisis.

But the Twitter limit of 140 characters was vastly exceeded by Obama himself, who responded with spoken responses averaging 2,099 characters.

Emanuelle Degli Esposti is the editor and founder of The Arab Review, an online journal covering arts and culture in the Arab world. She also works as a freelance journalist specialising in the politics of the Middle East.