Although she arrived fashionably late to the Twitter party, this summer Hillary Clinton made a splash upon joining the ever popular social media platform. It was a clearly well thought out and strategic move that met the high expectations of even her youngest and most tech-savvy supporters. Receiving attention for her Twitter debut on outlets ranging from political magazines to pop culture blogs, thanks to her lighthearted, socially aware tone, Clinton’s first tweet was one of the most anticipated in politics.
Twitter has played a more important role in politics than ever imaginable. As President Obama showed in his two incredibly successful online campaigns, competence, awareness, and personability on social media is the key to political success, both for fund raising and at the ballot. The Clinton campaign’s strong voice and head start on Twitter indicate that she will successfully emulate the president’s success on social media.
@Hillary Clinton’s bio, which cleverly reads “Wife, mom, lawyer, women & kids advocate, FLOAR, FLOTUS, US Senator, SecState, author, dog owner, hair icon, pantsuit aficionado, glass ceiling cracker, TBD…” has been the subject of much praise. In fact, the Washington post stated that it “may be the best [Twitter] bio ever.” This move has the power to capture the attention of the politically savvy as well as the normally uninterested. Hillary Clinton’s Twitter bio is strong, smart, and sassy. She shows that she’s in the know about pop culture, and as a public figure she doesn’t take herself too seriously.
This is important because Twitter has the power to actually influence people’s perception of a politician. A 160 character twitter bio gives politicians the unusually impossible luxury of creating a clear, succinct brand for themselves to present to the world. Her Twitter bio does what a Twitter bio should: among all else, it shows her as a person.
Clinton picked up 350,000 followers on Twitter almost immediately, with a single tweet, a well thought-out profile, and a notable name as content. This proves that, for politicians, it is not enough to simply exist, creating arbitrary content on these platforms. Instead, it is essential to create a strategic plan and tone for a Twitter persona to grab attention and showcase a candidate’s personality and passions. For Hillary, these passions are made immediately clear by the strikingly small number of people she follows. Of these nine accounts, two are Bill and Chelsea Clinton, showcasing her devotion to her influential family, and another four are organizations devoted to empowering students and women. Notably absent are other politicians or campaign staff.
Clinton also doesn’t limit herself to tweeting about politics. She tweets about current events in pop culture, her non-profit work — and she even recently tweeted at J.K. Rowling.
This one-on-one feel gives an undeniably warm impression to anyone following her, (all 800,00+ users) and even more importantly, everyone reading what her supportive followers have retweeted. Therein lies the secret of creating engaging content — it travels and influences beyond the reach of just those that have opted to seeing your posts.
On Twitter, Clinton also embraced the viral “Texts from Hillary” meme, popularized on the social networking site Tumblr, with a sense of humor. She chose the now iconic image of her texting in oversized sunglasses as her official Twitter profile picture, showing off her personality and humility. The “Texts from Hillary” Tumblr page ended its activity after receiving a submission from the candidate herself. In the founders’ goodbye post, they write, “As far as memes go – it has gone as far as it can go. Is it really possible to top a submission from the Secretary herself?” They acknowledge poignantly, however, that the celebratory joke “will live on with all of you on the Internet.”
To that point, the promise of the Internet is the ability for a few to spark a national conversation that can span years and touch people from every walk of life. This is why an engaging social media presence is one of the strongest, most enduring, and self-sustaining tools that a politician can wield. Hillary Clinton is proving that she will be a social media force to be reckoned with in 2016.