Wednesday, 24 December 2014

Bill Clinton needs some social media help. So we asked an expert.

You probably don't believe me because, sure enough, Clinton got caught seemingly checking out a woman last month as she was taking a selfie. Then, earlier this week, a photo of Clinton with the daughter of a prominent New York Republican got a lot of traffic -- particularly once the girl's mother was cropped out.
These are very different cases that reinforce a common theme: Hillary Clinton might be a mile ahead of the competition, but reminding people of some of the more adult goings-on last time the Clintons lived in the White House isn't going to do her much good. Should Clinton not pose near décolletage? Should he not attend events where cameras are allowed?
To help develop some guidelines, we spoke with social media consultantJulie DeNeen by phone. DeNeen has been consulting on social media for about two years -- not super long if you're a consultant on, say, geology, but comprising a decent chunk of the existence of tools like Instagram and Snapchat.
Tip 1: You can't undo it.
"I think the thing that is most important to remember is that once it's there, it's there forever," DeNeen said of posts to social media. "Even if it's deleted, it's there forever."
This sounds counter-intuitive, but, especially for someone like Bill Clinton, it's true. Clinton has 2.69 million followers on Twitter. If everyone looks at his tweets for one second a day, that still means that 30,000 people are watching every second. Anthony Weiner only had 60,000 followers and when he accidentally posted a Risqué Image, it was spotted and saved before he could take it down. There is a 0 percent chance Clinton could post something somewhere and not have it been seen.
"I think the media in general likes to jump on these issues," DeNeen said.
Which is true! But so do all of the people in the United States who would rather not see another President Clinton. And that's a lot more people.
Tip 2: Use your family as a moral compass, but use common sense.
Here's DeNeen's advice in general. "Don't put anything on the Internet that you don't want your kids to see," she said. Don't have kids? "Don't put anything on the Internet that you wouldn't want your boss or your parents to see."

Clinton probably doesn't care if Chelsea sees the picture of himself with Andrea Catsimatidis, the woman in the second photo. He poses for these pictures thousands of times a year. And what's he going to do, say no?
Still: "That probably wasn't a smart move on his part," DeNeen said.
Clinton has ... a reputation. And with scrutiny and judgment being reintroduced by his wife's inevitable campaign, it probably makes sense for him to be more selective in his posing partners.
Tip 3: But, be authentic.
"The culture values authenticity, so in some ways it can help celebrities when they don't always pose in perfectly manicured photos of themselves," DeNeen said.
Sure enough, Clinton earned online praise for dipping his head into someone's photograph of a mopey child. Hillary Clinton, of course,stumbled into meme celebrity last year when a candid shot of her on a plane caught on. Just the Clintons being the Clintons, and people loved it.
Tip 4: But not, like, too authentic.
"He likes women! We all know this. It's a well-known fact," DeNeen said, moderating her enthusiasm about Clinton being himself. "If you want to change that image, you have to actually change your behavior -- not just on social media."
Which brings us to our final point, circling back to that tricky first photo of Clinton caught in the woman's selfie.
Tip 5: You can't control what other people post.
"When you're Bill Clinton, you can control your own accounts," DeNeen said, "but everyone has a cell phone."
You can't ban photos everywhere -- although Hillary Clinton has barred photos at events in the past. People don't always realize how a photo is going to look until it's published, as was probably the case in the Catsimatidis example. The problem is that, for Clinton, he should always expect to be about to be in a photograph. "With cameras everywhere, somebody is going to catch him doing something less than perfect," DeNeen said.
"When you have that level of power, you have to work that much harder to appear as if you're not lusting after young women," she added. "It may feel unfair, being held to a higher standard, but tough" .... and then she said another word that starts with an "s."

But I would rather not have my kids read it, so we'll just end here.

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