President Barack Obama joins photo site Instagram

Barack Obama on Instagram
Image caption This image of the President was posted on Wednesday

US President Barack Obama has joined photo-sharing social network Instagram.

The first picture, posted by his campaign staff, shows the President video-conferencing with supporters at the Iowa caucus.

The service, which allows users to apply special effects to pictures, has over 50 million users worldwide.

Social networking is expected to play a major role in efforts to build voter loyalty in the upcoming US Presidential Elections.

Prior to being elected in 2008, President Obama used Twitter to rally support and raise money for his campaign.

He quickly became one of the service's most followed users.

Ahead of this year's election, all of the Republican candidates have established a presence on Twitter - with Newt Gingrich proving the most popular of the presidential hopefuls with over 1.3 million followers.

President Obama's Twitter account is mostly maintained by his campaign team, although posts signed off with 'BO' are said to be posted by the President himself.

As a notable Blackberry user, it is unclear whether the President will upload pictures that he has taken himself as the app is currently only available on the iPhone.

Instagram, which Apple named "app of the year" in 2011, said it was delighted to have the President using its service.

"We look forward to seeing how President Obama uses Instagram to give folks a visual sense of what happens in the everyday life of the President of the United States," it saidin a blog post.

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