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Twitter presidency: Obama sentences written in 140 characters or less

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Politics,Paul Bedard,Washington Secrets,Barack Obama

Social media, especially 140-character-limited Twitter, hasn't just taken over Washington communications, it has also rewritten the way President Obama's major addresses are crafted.

While short and impactful sentences have always been preferred by modern presidents — JFK's "Ask not" or Nixon's "I am not a crook" — a majority of Obama's sentences in speeches are written in 140 characters or less, making it cinch to tweet and promote even as he talks.

Yahoo's inventive reporters Chris Wilson and Olivier Knox discovered the trend when reviewing the president's weighty recent speech on his drone policy. Noting that the White House tweeted 22 sentences from the speech, the duo dubbed the president a "human twitter account."

Just looking at the character length of the speech, 71 percent of the sentences were tweetable at 140 characters or less; 72 percent of the sentences in the 2013 State of the Union were tweetable.

The trend shouldn't be surprising given the shrinking size of newspapers and the explosion in media consumers who say they get their news exclusively from Twitter.

Just consider a Pew Internet & American Life Project study on Twitter usage. "We found that in the general internet population, 19 percent of online Americans use Twitter or other status update functions. Of those Twitter users, virtually all (99 percent) are online news consumers. And 28 percent of those who are in the online news consumer cohort say they get Twitter updates about news from friends and colleagues they follow on Twitter and 18 percent follow the Twitter feeds of news organizations or individual journalists. Combined, that amounts to 6 percent of all internet users who get news via Twitter feeds."

In December, Pew reported that 81 percent of Americans are online and 78 percent of those are looking for news.