"Totally coup, yo."

Social Media for Public Figures

Jun

20

by

Weiner has fallen, can Boehner be far behind?

If you’ve gotten anywhere in politics, chances are good you know little about anything else. Sure, it’s open to debate whether there’s inherent value in aggressive self-ingratiation, hyperactive networking, and public speaking when it’s in the service of promises as empty as your smile. But plenty of science has gone into perfecting vacuous things, and there’s an art to instilling in a hysterical public the improbable prospect that you’ve come far enough to be taken seriously, by seriously threatening the status quo.

Modern politics may still be old and white — a face grotesquely bent with a ghastly entitlement that’d blend unnoticeably into an etching depicting a Virginian slave sale — but it must remain as spry and limber as a young Sally Hemings. Times change, and so must the modern empty-headed careerist. I know, you didn’t get into politics because you liked change, progress, or knowing how stuff worked, but the Infobahn is fraught with peril. I’ll deliver this medicine candy-coated, and close to room temperature, because if anyone deserves to be insulated from unpleasantness, it’s the habitually-coddled. No one is less prepared for strife, or more deserving of kindness. You didn’t ask to be born into money, to have a prefab network of powerful allies, or to coast through school on athletic abilities, at a school with auditoriums sharing your surname. How hypocritical of the public to resent things like this, when they’re so hung up on the alleged prejudices that have affected them on the piddly scale of their own lives!

But, this is the game you’ve chosen to play, and as always, even if the phrase is largely redundant and meaningless, you play to win. You know most of it in your bones. Affirm platitudes, recite the eternal promises that dangle coyly before history. Be genetically prone to tallness, stand erect, have a low-toned voice and high price, speak patronizingly; these things are important for women, too, though female politicians should also be photographed with a perpetual grimace of idiotic surprise (it’s simplest just to maintain this expression constantly; try to imagine your first time hearing a Korean American speak pitch-perfect English).

You’ve probably heard a lot about tweeting. If you’re not in the know, this isn’t code for how your friends communicate across mens room stalls, it’s done with some sort of technology called Twitter; invented by nerds, and used by narcissists. You can write something on your computer or portable phone, and it’s broadcast to millions of other members. It’s limited to 140 characters (not 140 words, but 140 letters, numbers, spaces and punctuation), so it’s impossible to communicate anything of substance, and it targets a readership with the focus of a mayfly.

As perfect as that sounds for your profession, there are key points to remember.

The Internet is forever. Unlike breaking off with your high school sweetheart, you can’t get something back from the Internet with the threat of a ruined reputation and a punch in the throat. Like society at large, the machine world is teeming with people smarter than you, who’d love to see you fail on sheer principle. They’ll hold onto your innocent macaca comments, and try to accuse you of racism, as if you’d put that much thought into it, or held fast to even a heinous species of conviction. As unfair as it is to be considered somehow accountable for one’s statements, this is the world we live in.

Done correctly, tweeting will impress parts of the public still bewildered by technology or racial integration, and give the savvy the opportunity to follow the thoughts and musings of their favorite politicians. Young people no longer have to wait for op-ed pieces in American Spectator, or blurbs in Mother Jones. They can get their fix directly, without distortions or spell-checking!

But please, when you reach out to your constituency, watch your hands.

You can do similarly magical things on the Facebook. Status updates are a lot like tweets. Just make sure you learn the difference between private messages and wall posts, and how to use friend lists to separate your contradictory public and private lives.

When it comes to photos, use your head. No matter which way you lean on the political spectrum, the rabble might respect a public figure with some balls, but they’re obligated to be aghast when they see them. The Internet is fecund earth for scandal. Sending photos to a person (or worse, a woman, or an impressionable young male intern) is virtually begging them to leak your private property to filthy journalists on the Information Superhighway. There’s an endless multitude of bloggers with nothing better to do than point out your minor indiscretions. Their spite and jealousy is maddening, but you can diffuse the situation early, and still maintain a lifestyle in stark contradiction to your public policies. You can snatch up all the cake, and ironically tell people to eat it, too.

My solution? Lead with the dick shot. The opening salvo to a Politics 2.0 campaign should introduce your office’s most important member. Think about it. This is probably how they elected leaders is prehistoric times!

Sadly, unless you’re Joan Marie Laurer, this won’t work for chicks. You’ll have to pose with a surrogate dick, like a rifle or flagpole.

This honest new approach to Politics 2.0 should be helpful to both of the two viable parties. Democrats have lost their compass, and need a leader to point them in the right direction. Libertarians (Republicans) want a man who’s ready to stand behind this nation’s constitution, and hold firmly to its fundamentals. They want women who’ll dig (and grind) their heels in, and whip this republic into shape, making the red states glow!

  • Eric G

    Libertarians and George Will conservatives are an endangered species within the Republican party. Republicans are right-wing authoritarians.

  • http://anteprepro.xanga.com/weblog/ Anteprepro

    “Libertarians and George Will conservatives are an endangered species within the Republican party.”

    Is it wrong that I hear this and think that’s a good thing? If only it weren’t for the ignorant and oppressive alternative to them, we could celebrate the vanishing of such pseudo-intellectual douchebags.

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