White House press secretary Robert Gibbs praised the virtues of social media tools such as YouTube and Twitter as useful outlets for the Obama administration.

Gibbs's kind words come as the White House has stepped up its social media presence following President Obama's State of the Union. 

"Obviously, a number of us use a number of social media tools like Twitter to communicate what the government is doing for the people of this country," he said during his daily press briefing, adding that social media "brings people closer to the decisions that are being made here in Washington."

White House communications director Dan Pfeiffer began tweeting Wednesday and participated in a question-and-answer session with followers. President Obama is scheduled to participate in a YouTube interview Thursday afternoon.

The White House has emphasized direct media as a way to better engage with the public, but that strategy has sometimes come under scrutiny. The press has voiced concern that the White House could use the tools to circumvent traditional media outlets or could encounter cybersecurity breaches.