On Twitter, Michelle Obama Will Recapture Her Message
Now was perfect time to join, expert says
Undoubtedly, the most poignant sound byte from Michelle Obama’s wide-ranging interview with rising media star Gayle King Tuesday came when the First Lady refuted claims that she was angry and had had multiple tiffs with staff in the West Wing: “Who can write about how I feel? Who? What third person can tell me how I feel, or anybody, for that matter?”
The comments were delivered with affect and a sense of resolve. It offered the first real clue that events and depictions of her imparted by Jodi Kantor in the new book “The Obamas” bothered or even hurt her in some way.
On Thursday morning, she officially joined Twitter.
"We're excited today to launch @michelleobama as a new way for you to connect with First Lady Michelle Obama and the President's campaign,” read the opening tweet. “This account will be managed by the campaign staff" and that any tweets from Obama will be signed "-mo."
[Also read "2011: The Year of Black Digital Domination"]
At about noon Thursday, Mrs. Obama then chimed in with a few words of her own: “Hi, everyone, and thanks for the warm welcome. Look forward to staying in touch with you here. -mo”
In just a few hours, Mrs. Obama had over 100,000 followers and counting.
The timing of Mrs. Obama’s arrival on the micro-blogging site indicates previous assertions she will reprise her role from the 2008 elections as “The Closer,” as she was called by campaign staff. Some in the 2012 campaign have said that Mrs. Obama will take on an even more aggressive role this time around
Wayne Sutton, a social media expert and partner at NewME Accelerator, a tech start-up incubator for minority businesses says that Mrs. Obama’s joining Twitter comes at a crucial time in the first family’s time in the White House.
“It’s always good to manage and control your own voice online,” Sutton tells Loop 21. When you are in the public eye “different people are going to be writing and saying things about you. It’s beneficial to have a platform where you can be who you are and not be subject to misinterpretation.”
Sutton believes the impact of Michelle Obama extends beyond the broadening of her and the president’s message. “The digital divide is huge for minorities across the world and she’s setting up an example for people to follow,” said Sutton. “It’s great to see the First Lady using Twitter to personally interact and connect with individuals who care or want to know more about her.
Her account follows campaign manager Jim Messina, the official White House account, the Let’s Move campaign to solve childhood obesity, Joining Forces (campaign to support military families), and, of course, her husband’s official account.
Sutton estimates that she will not tweet very much, but says that one tweet a week for someone of her stature is more than enough to keep her message at the forefront of voter’s minds.
“With everything that’s going on they’ll be very careful with what she tweets. But with the new book, her husband’s re-election and her own personal campaigns, now is the time.”
Will you be following the First Lady? #SpeakOnIt