“I think I’m sort of insecure. What if you tweet and nobody tweets back? There’s nothing worse than a friendless tweeter, right?”
It’s every microblogger’s worst fear: to be publicly hung out to dry in the social media world. It seems like a rational concern if you’re one of the millions of Tweeters twittering ferociously in order to garner attention – but it’s patently ridiculous if you’re, say, former president Bill Clinton.
The ex-president recently made his social media debut, thanks to Steven Colbert’s tweet on Clinton’s behalf.
Just spent amazing time with Colbert!Is he sane? He is cool! #cgiu
— Billy Jeff Clinton (@PrezBillyJeff) April 6, 2013
Colbert took it upon himself to create a personal Twitter account for Clinton after asking about his social media presence in a recent interview.
It’s hard to believe that the president that sat in office at the forefront of the online boom (didn’t his vice president like, invent the Internet?) would feel sheepish about having a social media presence. This is someone who spent nearly all of his political life crisscrossing America trying to win over voters, and happened to be one of the most charismatic campaigners to hit the trail. If Clinton has reservations about his likeability or popularity on social media, then what chance does John Q. Public have?
But, thanks in part to Colbert’s own massive presence, the @PrezBillyJeff account will not be friendless anytime soon. Followers flocked to the feed after the Colbert episode aired, and the account is currently approaching 150,000 followers. It already has more followers than @ClintonGlobal (the Twitter page for the Clinton Global Initiative), and it is quickly gaining ground on @ClintonTweet, the page for the Clinton Foundation. Colbert’s lone tweet is still the only post, but many social media users would be delighted if Billy Jeff himself took the reins.
It’s funny that a public figure as significant as Clinton would fear being rendered a “friendless tweeter.” As a well-loved figure in modern American politics, Clinton still yields enormous influence and should have no trouble transferring his social capital to social media. In his post-presidential years, Clinton has become a go-to guy for political strategy and public policy initiatives alike – an increasingly apolitical celebrity who dances around the periphery of politics by doing good for others (and well for himself).
At this point, Clinton has no other higher ambitions for public office, which leaves him free to use a personal Twitter page as a means for followers to get a glimpse of what the ex-prez is up to. He’s gone this long without hiring a social media agency to manage his online personality – unlike our current president. Given that his followers are growing by the minute, it’d be pretty sad if Bill doesn’t cave in to the curious demands of his Twitter fans. Whether he decides to verify the authenticity of the account remains to be seen (pssh), but we can only hope Colbert planted the seeds of an increasing social media presence.
His biggest challenge may be sticking to 140 characters. But as Clinton stated in the interview, “there’s no difference between being selfish and selfless; if you understand how the world works, we’re all tied together.” He was referring to why he pursues his post-presidential philanthropic endeavors – but he may as well have been talking about the world of social media.
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