President Obama took to Facebook Thursday night to comment on a photo of an Iranian father and son posted by the popular photography blog Humans of New York.
The blog, which began in 2010 as a series of portraits of people on the streets of The Big Apple, has become something of a global phenomenon. Creator Brandon Stanton has recently been in Iran, sharing images and stories of people and life there.
It was one of these photos that prompted the president’s comment. Posting from the official White House Facebook account, Obama said the story of the father and his humanitarian-minded, 10-year-old son in the town of Tabriz resonated with him personally. He wrote:
“What an inspirational story. One of the most fulfilling things that can happen to you as a parent is to see the values you’ve worked to instill in your kids start to manifest themselves in their actions — and this one really resonated with me. I hope this young man never loses his desire to help others. And I’m going to continue doing whatever I can to make this world a place where he and every young person like him can live up to their full potential. (And if I ever get to meet him, I hope he’ll save me an apricot!) -bo”
The comment had received more than 120,000 “likes” as of Friday afternoon. The photo itself had been liked by nearly half a million people.
Obama’s Facebook comment, which comes amid his push to generate support for the Iranian nuclear deal, is the most recent example of Obama capitalizing on social media to connect with constituents. From reading #MeanTweets about himself on Jimmy Kimmel Live to posting a selfie with Bear Grylls on Instagram during his trip to Alaska this week, Obama’s social media use gives the public a look at the president’s lighter side.
In fact, this Humans of New York interaction wasn’t Obama’s first. In February, he invited a school principal and a student from Brownsville, N.Y., — who had been featured on the photo blog — to the White House. The student had credited the principal with being the biggest influence in his life, and the post went viral. That post not only led to the White House visit, it also sparked a fundraising campaign that raised more than $1 million for a scholarship program for students at the school.