Clinton got help orchestrating her Twitter arrival from two former aides, Katie Dowd, a former social-media adviser at the State Department who works at the White House, and Katie Stanton, a veteran of the Obama campaign’s digital team who later worked for Clinton at State and now is at Twitter.
Twitter will afford Clinton, as it does President Obama, an opportunity to shape the news and communicate directly with voters. Kevin Madden, a Republican strategist and former adviser to 2012 presidential candidate Mitt Romney, recalled that the White House influenced the news for several days in February simply by tweeting a photograph of Obama shooting skeet at Camp David.
“Political figures that use Twitter the best position themselves as managing editors of their own political news cycle,” Madden said. “They chose the headline, the image and the lede of their own news story, and the White House has been Exhibit A for that.”
Regardless of whether Clinton decides to run for president again, she has gained attention on a powerful new media platform. In less than a day after firing off her first tweet, she had more than 350,000 followers — well over the totals of Maryland Gov. Martin O’Malley (40,000) and New York Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo (85,000), two younger-generation Democrats who have been on Twitter for years and are eyeing presidential runs of their own.
“There’s a great hunger for people to know not only what she thinks about policy, but her opinion on everything related to pop culture,” Madden said. “That’s where the power of social media lies for her — and it gives her a sizeable advantage over many of her opponents.”
Clinton got a warm reception from the Twitterverse. Twitter co-founder Jack Dorsey welcomed her, tweeting to his 2.3 million followers, “I love this bio!”
So did rocker Tommy Lee (“Welcome to Tweeeeeeeeter Hillary!”), talk show host Larry King (“I’ll be following you — hope you follow me”), actor Ben Affleck (“I’m looking forward to following @HillaryClinton and the #TBD”), and billionaire investor Warren Buffett (“Happy to welcome one of my favorite women in the world to twitter. #45”).
So far, Clinton is following only five accounts — those of her husband and daughter, as well as the Clinton Foundation, the Clinton Global Initiative and the University of Arkansas Clinton School of Public Service. Chelsea Clinton tweeted, “Welcome Mom!”
The 42nd president, meanwhile — who joined Twitter in April after public prodding by comedian Stephen Colbert — sent a message of his own: “Does @Twitter have a family share plan?”
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