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White House uses social media to amplify Obama's big speech

Sharon Gaudin | Jan. 22, 2015
The White House updated its social media efforts in an effort to control the messages coming out of the president's State of the Union address last night.

On the other side of the aisle, the GOP had its own social networking efforts during and after the address.

Republican politicians, along with the Republican National Committee posted comments and tweets with their responses to what the president was saying.

"Social media is definitely playing an increasingly important role in politics — if not necessarily a positive role," said Dan Olds, an analyst with The Gabriel Consulting Group. "It's hard to clearly communicate anything substantial in 140 characters or less, particularly when the subject matter is complex."

All of the analysts agree that there is always a risk associated with blasting out tweets and other social media posts on the fly during such a big event.

"The first risk is that someone will say the wrong thing and find themselves at the center of a firestorm of outrage," said Olds. "There is too much room for misinterpretation and sometimes willful misinterpretation, which not only negates the message, but can also cause huge blowback. These days, political social media seems to focus on fomenting and feeding outrage, which is then used as fuel to vilify some opponent or position."

Jeff Kagan, an independent industry analyst, noted that companies can learn from what the politicians are doing with social media.

"This is the same for businesses. You must be thinking clearly and using social media responsibly so you don't get burned by it," he explained. "These are still the early days when it's OK to experiment, play around and figure out what works, what doesn't and why.... There are risks in using social media and there are risks in not using social media. Choose your risk."


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