Few people achieve as illustrious introductions to Twitter as did Hillary Clinton on 10 July 2013, when she tweeted for the first time.
First there is the self-deprecating, yet tech-savvy, inspiration for her Twitter account. The very popular Texts from Hillary blog lasted for one short week in April of 2012. But with just 32 posts, the Tumblr blog gained over 45,000 followers and earned its creators a personal visit to the White House to meet Hillary herself.
Over a year later, Ms. Clinton used her first tweet to graciously thank the blog’s creators for their inspiration. She also assured them that she’ll ‘take it from here’. Her classy and assertive Twitter start belies the struggle facing politicians and the role of social media in their campaigns and terms. However, even at 66, Ms. Clinton is able to make technology work for her.
Then there is the welcome tweet from the man himself, @BarackObama, who was clearly in on the game. He trended his message with the same catchy slogan, ‘#TweetsFromHillary’, that accompanied Ms. Clinton’s first tweet.
Finally there is her Twitter profile. Really, though, it’s more of a game-changer. While Twitter has been around since 2006, its form had not truly been mastered until Ms. Clinton joined up. Her personal bio, adhering to the 140-characters-or-fewer limit, reads: ‘Wife, mom, lawyer, women & kids advocate, FLOAR [First Lady of Arkansas], FLOTUS, US Senator, SecState, author, dog owner, hair icon, pantsuit aficionado, glass ceiling cracker, TBD…’.
With six characters to spare, Ms. Clinton was able to do justice by her inspiring career, self deprecate, and inspire further speculation into a potential 2016 presidential bid. To give credit where it is due, that last thing was accomplished in just three characters.
Speculation over a second President Clinton in the White House has grown ever since Barack Obama won the Democratic nomination (over Ms. Clinton) in 2008. When Ms. Clinton stepped down as Secretary of State earlier this year, her fan base only grew. With an apparently free schedule, Ms. Clinton is poised to devote all her time to strategizing a 2016 bid. Beginning a Twitter account seems an important, and expected, part of that strategy.
News of her memoir deal (and its estimated $14 million advance) also sparked rumors of a 2016 run. The Washington Post reported that the memoir is ‘set to include some forward-looking ideas for the country’, suggesting the book will serve as both personal promotion and her campaign’s platform.
More recently, Ms. Clinton spoke at the Clinton Global Initiative on 13 June 2013. Her speech, delivered to hundreds of business and government leaders, centered on the need for America to create more opportunities for women. This call to action is in line with her life’s work, which, as both first lady and secretary of state, has focused on women’s rights and advocacy. In introducing her, former President Bill Clinton announced that his wife is now working full-time for his foundation. Nonetheless, she may be working two jobs.
Furthermore, on 18 June 2013, the unofficial 2016 Hillary Rodham Clinton presidential campaign earned its first senatorial endorsement. Missouri Senator Claire McCaskill has joined the grassroots political action committee, Ready for Hillary, in preparing for Clinton’s presidency. However, no formal indication of a desire to run for the presidency has been signaled from Secretary Clinton.
Despite such speculation, though, the Hillary for President movement is still wholly unofficial. Ms. Clinton’s camp has done nothing to feed speculation. (Besides, of course, that Twitter innuendo: ‘TBD’.) And despite the uproar Ms. Clinton’s Twitter arrival has prompted, her account does little to promote any presidential business. Instead, so far, it has only been used for self-promotion and selfies.
Photo: Wikimedia Commons