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Clinton makes a statement with first tweet

Philip Rucker (via WP Bloomberg/ AFR) | June 11, 2013
Hilary Clinton's Twitter followers signed up fast, almost 1,000 of them a minute, to see what she had to say.

Her bio reads: "Wife, mom, lawyer, women & kids advocate, FLOAR, FLOTUS, US Senator, SecState, author, dog owner, hair icon, pantsuit aficionado, glass ceiling cracker, TBD . . . "

"I think it's hilarious," said Mo Elleithee, who was a spokesman on Clinton's 2008 presidential campaign.

"Twitter is not a dry medium; it is not a place to be boring," Elleithee added. "The fact that she embraced the whole 'Texts From Hillary' phenomenon, the fact that she pokes fun at those who poke fun at her in her bio, it shows that she gets this modern era of communications and is going to use that to help say whatever it is that she wants to say."

In her first tweet, Clinton mentioned the two men who created the "Texts From Hillary" meme - Adam Smith and Tracy Lambe - and even used a hashtag, which is Twitter-speak for a trendy topic.

She tweeted: "Thanks for the inspiration @ASmith83 & @Sllambe - I'll take it from here . . . #tweetsfromhillary."

Clinton got help orchestrating her Twitter arrival from two young former aides, Katie Dowd, a former social-media adviser at the State Department who now 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 Barack 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 lead of their own news story, and the White House has been Exhibit A for that."

Whether Clinton decides to run for president again or not, she has already gained attention on a powerful new media platform. Just five hours after firing off her first tweet, she had more than 200,000 followers - well over the totals of Maryland Gov. Martin O'Malley (40,000) and New York Gov. Andrew 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 of 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."


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