Obama selfie stick Buzzfeed
Buzzfeed captured President Obama with a selfie stick, a gif they promoted with the online site’s sit-down interview with him.

President Barack Obama’s recent interviews with Buzzfeed and Vox attracted considerable attention and comment — both as signs that those digital-media companies are emerging as significant news organizations, and as The New York Times put it, examples of the administration’s ongoing “efforts to connect with millennials and broaden its reach beyond traditional media outlets.” (See also Obama’s 2012 “Ask Me Anything” chat on Reddit, his Instagram account, and the 54.8 million followers of his official Twitter feed.)

Obama’s embrace of online news and social media continues a long tradition of presidents employing the latest communications technologies to speak to Americans directly rather than through the Washington press corps. In honor of Presidents Day, and given our abiding interest in all things tech, here’s a rundown of how presidents have adopted and used the “new media” of their eras.

Charles M. Relyea/Library of Congress
Charles M. Relyea/Library of Congress

ABRAHAM  LINCOLN: Lincoln was the first president to make extensive use of the telegraph, which had been invented decades earlier but, as author Tom Wheeler wrote, “remained an outlier to both the people and their government.” Lincoln peppered his generals with orders, advice, reassurances and criticism, even though he had to go next door to the War Department’s telegraph office to send his messages. (Lincoln’s successor, Andrew Johnson, installed the first telegraph room in the White House itself.)

WILLIAM MCKINLEY: McKinley’s presidential campaign produced the first