Social media fail: @BarackObama loses 36,000-plus Twitter followers in barrage

By Kase Wickman
Saturday, July 30, 2011 13:03 EDT
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The first U.S. head of state who could be considered social media savvy, President Barack Obama may have taken his latest Twitter-targeted political push a little too far, if his followers are to be listened to.

In a brief statement about the debt ceiling Friday morning, Obama urged, “If you want to see a bipartisan compromise — a bill that can pass both houses of Congress and that I can sign — let your members of Congress know. Make a phone call. Send an email. Tweet.”

Obama certainly took his own advice: His Twitter account, @BarackObama, sent out a barrage of 113 tweets with the contact info for the congressional delegations of all states, plus the hashtag #compromise to his more than 9 million followers.

Tech site Mashable crunched the numbers, and deduced that in the five hours of Obama’s tweet-spree, the president lost about 37,000 followers by sending out information that was largely irrelevant to a great number of them, and clogging their feeds.

Yesterday’s Tweet-fest also reinforced that old adage that any publicity is good publicity: the National Journal noted that Republican members of Congress picked up 6,500 new followers, probably from mentions on Obama’s Twitter account.

The handlers of Obama’s Twitter account, by the end of the spree, also seemed to realize the annoyance among followers, tweeting, “Thanks for contacting your legislators, and for sticking with us amid our tweeting today. We’re done now, we swear.”

Kase Wickman
Kase Wickman
Kase Wickman is a reporter for Raw Story. She holds a journalism degree from Boston University and grew up in Eugene, OR. Her work has been featured in The Boston Globe, Village Voice Media, The Christian Science Monitor, The Houston Chronicle and on NPR, among others. She lives in New York City and tweets from @kasewickman.
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