We now have four official candidates for the 2016 presidential nomination, three Republicans and one Democrat. Each of them used Twitter to promote their announcements. How they used it varies tremendously among them. It is too soon to tell if their initial Twitter splash ( twash ?) is indicative of things to come, but the contrasts in tactics and results are striking.
I spent this past weekend at the opening of the Philadelphia Independent Film Festival . Among the many films screening there are documentaries advocating for some official policy action. One of these films is a short documentary by Jet Wintzer about all of the statues, elementary schools and parks named after Albert Pike. Wintzer makes a strong case in the film, National Scars: The Albert Pike Monuments , that we should not be using Pike’s name on these nor should we use public funds to maintain them. The film is good, but there is more that can be done to advance the director’s cause.
This past week, the White House’s social media team reinvented the twitterbomb with a tweet slyly directed at Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin “Bibi” Netanyahu. By repurposing Netanyahu’s now famous bomb infographic used for Bibi’s 2012 speech at the United Nations, the Obama Administration simultaneously promoted its recent framework agreement with Iran over its nuclear program, created some highly “snackable” social media content and (indirectly) engaged Netanyahu via Twitter.
Did you tweet something in the past that might cause you to lose your job? Will you tweet something tomorrow that will do that? These are the questions of the week. And the answers are affecting political candidates’ ability to hire social media strategists. Controversial tweets also created heat for Jon Stewart’s successor on The Daily Show , Trevor Noah. But just how serious an issue is this?
Two titans of social media, Anonymous and ISIS, are at war with each other. ISIS, as we now know thanks to a methodologically robust study from the Brookings Institute , has become a major force on Twitter with more than 25,000 active Twitter accounts (from among as many as 90,000 total accounts created) supporting its propaganda efforts. Anonymous is, in the words of V, legion and has set its sights on dismantling ISIS’s digital capacity.
Normally, I would say that before a corporation launches a campaign to create a conversation around a controversial topic, it should get all of its ducks in a row. It should be sure to identify all the ways that conversation can go wrong. And it should be sure to inoculate itself against pushback by ensuring that its own policies and accomplishments related to the topic are well publicized. If these analyses don’t raise any insurmountable red flags, then the company should press ahead. With these considerations in mind, let’s look at what happened this past week with Starbucks’ #RaceTogether campaign.
On a lark, I looked up the 1955 roster for the World Series champion Brooklyn Dodgers. As many of you may know, Jackie Robinson was number 42 on that roster. Why did I look it up? I wanted to see who was number 47 on that team. Why number 47? Because lately, it seems that the number 47 is out to destroy the Republican Party.
According to Snapchat’s blog, "Social media companies tell us what to read based on what's most recent or most popular. We see it differently. We count on editors and artists, not clicks and shares, to determine what's important." And the hype across the media coverage of Discover is that it should hook younger audiences into reading the news. But will it succeed?
The political reaction to television can take any form, from high praise to outright rejection. When something happens on TV, public reaction materializes in short order, especially on Twitter. This past week saw two such reactions, one incredibly sad but positive, the other sparking outrage. The death of Leonard Nimoy and the reaction to Saturday Night Live’s parody of a Toyota commercial elicited such different responses. Yet, in some way, the opposite reactions might not have been predicted given the similarities in the root references if not for the differences in time lags between the Twitter reactions .
To be successful on social media as an advocacy or political campaign, you have to go where your audience is. You may love MySpace (who doesn’t with all those pretty pictures and rockin’ bands), but if your target audience isn’t there it’s a waste of your time.