Monthly Archives: August 2012

In a previous blog post, I said that Obama and Romney have failed at replying to Twitter followers – as noted by the ‘no replies’ that can be found on their Twitter profiles. They or their campaign have never replied to any of their followers. I said this was an utter failure because they could at least devote a campaign worker to this task, and occasionally have the candidate send a reply to someone.

It’s not rocket science. It’s like texting a friend. After all, a text and a tweet are both limited to 140 characters. It’s like when someone says something to you, you don’t, then, regurgitate your next talking point, you respond to them and acknowledge them. I know, this sounds like a high standard – but it shouldn’t be looked at this way.  We’ve just set the bar really low.

Others agree

So after coming to this conclusion on my own, I saw this great article, that was shared by a professor I had in college. In one part of the article, they bring up the same point. They said:

Neither campaign made much use of the social aspect of social media. Rarely did either candidate reply to, comment on, or “retweet” something from a citizen-or anyone else outside the campaign. On Twitter, 3% of the 404 Obama campaign tweets studied during the June period were retweets of citizen posts. Romney’s campaign produced just a single retweet during these two weeks-repeating something from his son Josh.

And by ‘Rarely did either candidate reply to…’ they mean that they NEVER replied to anyone.

It’s the right strategy

If the candidates truly want to get around traditional media (or lamestream media, as Sarah Palin would say) and talk directly to voters, they need to listen and respond. Otherwise, what’s the difference between saying your latest talking point on Cable TV and tweeting it (besides maybe the audience)? The difference is that on Twitter, you can be ‘social’ with your followers. That’s why they call it social media. It’s a dialogue not a monologue. Twitter is not a real-time digital billboard to push out your BS to anyone who will listen (although, that’s what it’s becoming), it is a real-time conversation with your followers where you talk, listen and respond.

Let’s get practical

  • The candidates could tweet a question and then monitor the response and reply to select people.
  • The candidates could monitor for a keyword. Let’s say the economy is a hot topic this week; the candidates could monitor tweets relating to the economy and reply with a great news article on the candidates’ website or news website that sets the record straight or just gives more information on what the person is asking. Or, they could simply reply to agree with or acknowledge someone.

In conclusion

With the election only 70 days away, will the candidates actually use social media the way it should be used? Socially? By following this strategy of interacting with followers, there isn’t an easy way to measure the return on investment. But that’s not really the point. Sometimes you should do the right thing without caring about ‘ROI’.

“Seriously, I’m fundamentally against the idea of showing multiple different designs. It turns the process into a beauty contest”

Andy Budd, UX Designer

Totally agree with this. I rarely show more than one design to a client. Beyond turning the process into a beauty contest, there is usually not more than one or two correct solutions to a design problem. And…it makes the designer look unsure of themselves because they are applying the ‘spray and pray’ approach… that is…show them 5 designs and pray one of them is chosen. This encourages the Frankenstein result, where the client comes back with, “I like this from design one and that from design three – combine them and it’s approved!” BOOOOO!

Before it was cool

I’ve been on Twitter since 2006 and have tweeted 9,651 times (at the time of this writing). I was on Twitter years before it was cool. I’ve watched Twitter ‘grow up’ in a sense.

It’s a small world

In the last few years, I’ve really started to notice how celebrities have embraced Twitter to interact with their fans. Twitter has provided that ‘small world’ feel in the palm of your hand. A celebrity might actually reply to you, answer your question, or otherwise acknowledge you. For the celebrity, this is something that shouldn’t be taken lightly, they literally have their whole fan-base in their pocket – via the Twitter mobile app. They can talk to their fans at any moment and have real interaction. That couldn’t happen before Twitter (at least to this extent).


Not to brag…

Here are a few folks that have interacted with me on Twitter. They are great examples of people who use Twitter to have a dialogue rather than a monologue (digital billboard):

  • Don Lemon (CNN News Anchor) – retweeted and replied to me about Romney VP pick
  • Stefan Bucher (designer/illustrator) – conversation about his book
  • Andrew Garcia (American Idol finalist) – conversation about DSLR cameras
  • Candace Cameron-Bure (DJ Tanner from Full House) – answered a question about John Piper
  • office of the president called me when I tweeted about them (in 2006)

I can’t send you a Twitter reply, but give me your money

I don’t believe Obama or Romney have ever replied to a fan/follower on Twitter (as noted by the ‘no replies’ text on their twitter profiles). Are you kidding me?!?!? You want us to give you money, ‘get out the vote’ and actually go and vote for you come November and you can’t reply to some of your followers by answering questions, etc? Could you not spend 5-10 minutes of your day to read a few twitter questions/concerns and personally reply? Heck – make a campaign minion do it… that would be a start.

It’s gotta be an enjoyable habit

To sum up, the reason celebrities interact with fans by replying and retweeting them is because using Twitter and interacting has become a habit for them. They enjoy it and do it regularly. They also understand the importance of interaction with fans. Conversely, I think you can figure out why some only use Twitter as their digital billboard – never to interact with anyone…. because they don’t understand Twitter and it’s not a habit for them. They haven’t seen the value and don’t realize how enjoyable it can be. Twitter can’t be a forced task, it has to be part of your life, habits and what you enjoy. You can’t just ‘learn’ Twitter, you have to learn to enjoy it.


Here’s a iconic, rotating, neon sign in Seattle, WA. It has been there since 1955 and so I thought it would be cool to process this photo as if the photo was taken a long time ago.

I added a subtle cross-process effect to this and a bit of texture. The more I look at this, the more it reminds me of the colors from this famous work.


Since I’ve learned a lot about photography and post-processing since my visit to Seattle a few years ago, I decided to take a second look at my photos to see what I could do with them. My initial version of this photo was to make it black and white – I have it for sale on Shutterstock here.

Here’s a version where I pushed the contrast and edgy-ness a bit.