Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Twitter Ruins Everything

Guest contributor and author James Othmer has some bad advice for Barack Obama. The politics are stupid, but his demeanor toward social media is spectacularly odd.

Don’t Tweet About Health Care

My first response was to get a Twitter account just to piss off the Times, then I realized he's talking to Obama.

PRESIDENT OBAMA’s 47-minute televised address last week, while controversial,

Controversial? On what planet was it controversial? Had it not been for Joe Wilson's redneck whiff (this is my new favorite phrase), it would have been utterly mundane.

may have been his most effective appeal yet for his health care reforms.

You mean it may have been more effective than the meandering attack on otolaryngologists that concluded by calling a cop "stupid" for no reason?

This is largely because he turned to the supposedly dying medium of prime-time television to accomplish what 21st-century social- media branding platforms could not.

A) Prime-time television is not dying, and no serious person thinks it is.
B) YouTube

Times Topics: Twitter

That's helpful. Thank you, web editor for providing this interactive experience.

The president’s old friends, Twitter and Facebook, helped him get elected and then betrayed him.

Fair enough, though aides have been telling him for months that he can just ignore all the superpokes from supporters.

Social media help stir up excitement for “change we can believe in.” They are a much less effective tool for articulating the extraordinarily complicated details of health care reform.

A) Obama's 47 minute speech did nothing of the sort.
B) Blogs

Mr. Obama still uses Twitter to articulate his health care goals. Recent tweets include “Know this: I will not waste time with those who have made the calculation that it’s better politics to kill this plan than improve it” and “I will not sign a plan that adds one dime to our deficits — either now or in the future. Period.”

Those are talking points from his speech. I cannot think of a single medium, hypothetical or otherwise, better equipped to easily disseminate a single talking point.

Still, there’s no way these sound bytes can truly battle the countless opposition messages in circulation. Twitter, after all, bleeds both blue and red.

Unlike the New York Times.

The same is true of the Internet in general.

Great observation. Can't wait to read the book.

Video clips from raucous town hall meetings across America demonstrate that YouTube, which played such a prominent role in building Brand Obama (who can forget the “Yes We Can” celebrity video?),

I had completely forgotten the "Yes We Can" celebrity video. Completely. Forgotten.

is just as capable of undermining the president’s health care plan and approval ratings.

Yep. So it's important to be active and engage social networking sites. That is the ONLY intelligent takeaway based on the arguments presented here. Any other advice would be moronic.

In his televised address, Mr. Obama was disturbed by one heckling congressman. On the Web, he has been shouted down and second-guessed by millions of voices.

For the first time in history, millions are using communications media to second-guess a sitting president. This has literally never happened.

Many states have active Republican Twitter pages.

They also have Republican party headquarters. In fact, Obama should do his able best to avoid states.

These can be used to announce rallies against the Obama health care plan,

If James were narrating instead of writing, I think he would switch to 1950s optimistic film-strip guy voice. "Jimmy has found out that typing is a useful skill! He can do his homework in half the time! Apply for a job at the Five and Dime! Impress his favorite gal with a poem! Uh-oh, looks like Jimmy's found a secretary to do his typing for him!"

parse the president’s speeches for inaccuracies

Or parse NYT op-eds for ridiculous ideas.

or link to articles that support their cause.

Which is just awful.

The right has been very effective in using new media to stir up emotions.

Apparently, parsing is an emotionally driven activity.

The left has found the same media to be much less effective for articulating big ideas.

Should I bother asking for data to support this claim? Also, will someone, anyone, concede that this health care plan is floundering, at least in part, because the public doesn't like it very much?

That’s why there’s still no better way to engage captive hearts, minds and eyeballs than with an appearance on prime-time TV.

Which he just did.

Here’s hoping that the next time Mr. Obama needs to deliver a complex idea, he’ll once again use more than 140 characters at a time.

This guy is literally advising Barack Obama to schedule ANOTHER prime time speech, rather than utilize social media.

James P. Othmer, a former advertising executive,

Wait, what? This guy was in advertising? How did that go down?

Client: We were thinking about buying some spots on radio.

James: No. I wouldn't do that. People say all kinds of things on the radio.

Client: What about print?

James: No dice. I recommend you go out there and adveritise with this.

Client: This is a bullhorn.

James: Exactly.

Client: Is this meant symbolically?

James: No. Here, I got you this box to stand on.


Blogger John Mulholland said...

I wasn't thinking "1950s film strip guy voice" but "Jimmy" from Seinfeld...

"Jimmy likes Elaine".

4:44 PM  
Blogger Sarah said...

nice ending! What about all those who actually, um, have jobs during prime time TV, or are busy? Instead of sitting through a 47 minute speech. we can use social networking sites to get the edited highlights. I'm a fan of this. I have a short attention span. Ironically before I read your blog I broke down and created a twitter account today. I doubt I'll use it very much though.

4:27 PM  

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