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The Hill- By Amie Parnes – 01/30/12 08:47 PM ET

President Obama is finding ways to get his message to the public without going through the White House press corps.

Obama on Monday held his “first completely virtual interview” as part of an event hosted by Google+, the social network the president called “a newfangled thing.”

The president joined a so-called “hangout”— a chat room of sorts on the social networking site — and took questions through YouTube on everything from unemployment to streamlining the federal government.

The event took place in the White House’s Roosevelt Room without the presence of television cameras or reporters.

The virtual interview is part of a larger effort by the White House to connect directly to Americans without going through the news media.

In recent months, Obama has hand-picked social media networks like Facebook and Twitter to relay his message on a variety of issues, holding town-hall meetings on both and even doing a third on LinkedIn.

And when Obama has sat down with reporters in recent months, it has been with hand-picked news outlets, which could allow the White House to better tailor the president’s message.

The effort extends beyond the president, too. On the heels of Obama’s State of the Union address last week, Vice President Biden and more than 30 White House officials went directly to the public by answering questions on Twitter.

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