On Tuesday, Ron Miller was tweeting away – meeting new people, offering pertinent information – perhaps a little humor, when this tweet came across his screen:
Ron swiftly tweeted that the Governor should hire him to be his Secretary of Social Media because that was the most boring post he’d ever read.
Almost instantly, someone from Governor Patrick’s office emailed Ron and asked him for his phone number. The next day he received a phone call from Brad Blake, the man in charge of the Gov’s new media & online strategy.
Schooling the Governor’s office
They talked about how to use Twitter effectively to show the whole person. With Ron making the point that the great thing about Twitter is that you get to know people in a way you couldn’t otherwise. Obviously, with the Governor, you need to be careful about how you do this, but there are ways to let people see his day and what he does without exposing too much information.
Of course, Brad is having a hard time convincing everyone of Twitter’s importance, and Ron responded, “It’s just another communications method like email, snail mail or the bulletin board at the community center.”
But everyone that’s on Twitter, Ron included, knows that it’s faster – much, much faster. And, of course, Ron pointed out that Twitter would allow the Gov’s office to listen back to the people from a customer/constituent service kind of viewpoint.
For instance, a while back there was a conversation about the proposed doubling of tolls on the bridges north of Boston, that generated a lot of chatter. If Governor Patrick had been listening, he would have heard that some people weren’t happy about it – and why. He may not have changed his decision, but his public outreach – even his personal outreach! – could have included information that would have directly addressed the naysayers’ concerns.
If you think about it, this helps both sides: the people are heard and the Governor gets to show that he’s listening and, lo and behold, a real person himself.
I’ll be back.
Apparently, Governor Schwarzenegger has been on Twitter for about a year, but only just started following people. Originally, they had a policy not to follow back because they were worried people would think it was big brotherish – but, no so on Twitter. Since they started really participating and giving back on Twitter, the California Governor has increased his followers from 1500 to 8000 in a very short time – as in ‘about one week.’
But, let’s not forget that following people isn’t all there is. You must tweet interesting things, people – or you will be forgotten, unfollowed, and un-impactful, to say the least. Which is why Ron recommended Governor Patrick tweet more than the latest policy papers.
Luckily, the Massachusetts Governor has someone who really gets it on his team. Brad told Ron a story about a group he works with – they all friended each other on FaceBook, and he felt a stronger connection to them because he got to know them a bit more outside of the work they were doing together.
The humanizing of people
And isn’t this the point? To humanize people, to make them more than just their professional roles, more than someone just looking for a sale…and, in the case of these politicians, more than just census numbers? And, in the eyes of the people, more than just suits looking for votes and power?
Talk to the people, play with the people, listen to the people…then make a real difference.