The president’s social-media experts have had a tough time of it lately. Whenever they come up with a great Twitter hashtag that they think is going to change the conversation — #IStandWithObama, #LowerUnderObama, #ILikeObamacare, etc. — those meddling teabaggers ruin it. They use those hashtags to mock and deride Obama, instead of worshipping him as is his due. They’re mean!
Well, he has had quite enough of that, thank you very much, and Alexandra Jaffe at National Journal couldn’t be more admiring:
Twitter is, traditionally, where politicians can go for quick, spontaneous interactions with constituents, because it’s truly a democratic forum — tweets by the people, for the people, arrive in real time. But those expecting such a spontaneous exchange with President Obama when he announced a seemingly impromptu Twitter Q&A on Thursday night were sorely disappointed to find the questions cherry-picked earlier by White House staff.
At 4:28 p.m., Obama sent out a rare personal tweet from the White House Twitter account, soliciting questions from followers for what many thought was a sudden interest in public debate over his To Do list for Congress: “Let’s try this: After I speak here in Iowa about clean-energy jobs, I’ll answer a few questions on #CongressToDoList. Ask w/ #WHChat…”
He went on to answer seven questions from average Twitter users, none with more than 400 followers, one with only seven, on issues ranging from energy to student-loan interest rates to mortgage reform…
But the tweets he answered were all time-stamped much earlier than his initial personal tweet inviting questions, one as early as five hours before Obama’s tweet…
Those tweeters were responding to an earlier call for questions from the official White House Twitter account, around noon on Thursday, that largely went under the radar until Obama shifted the question session into high gear with his personal tweet. The questions were, then, not spontaneous, but rather likely cherry-picked by staff hours before, giving Obama ample time to prepare answers…
Obama’s personal tweet was advantageous on two levels, however: It gave the town hall an off-the-cuff feel, popular among everyday citizens because it seems to indicate a level of intimacy with a highly-guarded, meticulously planned politician. And, perhaps more significant, it allowed Obama to avoid the GOP hashtag hijacking that has become par for the course whenever Obama has previously announced a social-media campaign ahead of time. Though Republicans did latch on to the hashtag eventually, the White House’s craftiness prevented the hashtag hijack from becoming too much of a social media centerpiece, as has happened with such efforts before.
It’s a clear signal that while the candidate who revolutionized the use of social media for campaigning won’t abandon the medium, he’s also become considerably warier of its potential abuses.
So there you have it. Free speech is an “abuse,” and declaring an open forum that really isn’t — AKA lying — is “craftiness.” Take that, wingnuts!
Lefties are growing to hate Twitter because it exposes their lies faster than they can come up with new ones. And because it opens them up to the one thing they hate more than anything else: mockery.
Update: I forgot to mention another lefty Twitter tactic that’s becoming increasingly popular: reporting people they disagree with politically for spam. Just this week, three Twitter accounts I follow — @OrwellForce, @duhBUYyawn, and @moira1987 — were suspended without explanation. And they’re hardly alone. None of these people are spammers. They just mock the left. Submit or be silenced, wingnuts.