If you were were on Twitter Wednesday afternoon, you may have noticed lots of tweets similar to this:
— The White House (@whitehouse) April 17, 2013
Those tweets were generated by a tool called Thunderclap, which the White House deployed on its website. Visitors to WhiteHouse.gov were encouraged to sign up with their Twitter and/or Facebook accounts. A suggested -- but customizable -- message was provided. Those signing up were told that the message would be shared at a certain time, and only once.
On Wednesday afternoon, hours before the Senate was set to vote on amendments to its gun bill, the social postings were unleashed:
Thunderclap is a popular tool used by many advocacy groups, but this was the first time that the White House had used it.