So, about that #NotSerious thing

You know, the big conservative push to hashtag all their tweets about the State of the Union speech so people can see the massive disdain on social media?

Yeah, well, here it is:


Oh dear. are they in there?  Maybe a percentage plot:



It would be ironic if, in total for the day, the number of #NotSerious tweets were 1% of all the tweets about Obama.  But, alas, they only made it to 0.65%…

Who Rick Scott Follows on Twitter is Completely Irrelevant. Ce n’est pas un faux pas.

I was amused (and annoyed) to see a somewhat excited news article entitled “Gov. Scott’s Twitter Faux Pas“.  The article suggests that because Governor Rick Scott’s twitter account follows some possibly unsavory Twitter accounts it’s “curious” and “plain disturbing”. And it goes on to urgently recommend that

[…] someone on his staff should monitor everyone who follows him and everyone he follows. Any offensive or questionable account should immediately be unfollowed, and the user should be blocked from following him. It’s Twitter 101, people.

I’ll give the writer some benefit of the doubt — she says she hasn’t been able to get through to the Governor’s staff to find out why he follows all those accounts.  But in turn, the writer should have given the Governor the benefit of the doubt, too.

Because it’s easy to see what’s happening without having to ask: Rick Scott’s official account is followed by 34,160 Twitter users.  Of those, his account follows 21,514 back.  In the other direction, Rick Scott’s official account follows 24,001 Twitter users. Of those, 21,514 follow him back.  In other words, Rick Scott’s official twitter account has obviously automatically followed back anyone who followed him — right up until the point that he hit the limit of followers that Twitter would allow him.

So, despite the article’s author’s excitement that Rick Scott’s account follows an alleged porn account, there is nothing more than mindless automation at work.  Rick Scott is not scanning all 24K accounts he follows for a salacious tweet out of the tens of thousands his list generate every day.

Now, is it really Twitter 101 that Rick Scott needs to have someone spend time weeding out the one or two unsavory followers? Let’s be clear, as a Florida taxpayer, I do not want Rick Scott to spend my money on having state employees scrubbing Twitter’s lists of users.  Let Twitter do that themselves.  So, no.  No state employees need to do this. Rick Scott may have many faults, but wasting taxpayer money is generally not one that comes to top of mind.

As for the suggestion that these unsavory followers “should be blocked from following [the governor],” I have to ask, why?  Does the writer not know of Florida’s sunshine laws? Blocking someone from following you is the same as blocking them from reading you.  That seems completely at odds with the principles of transparent government, doesn’t it? Yes it does.

Let’s all remember Twitter 102: Follows != endorsements.  The governor can put that on his Twitter profile, if that will help people remember that rule.

In the mean time, can we get back to the issues that confront our state?  Because who Rick Scott follows is not one of those issues.

Florida’s 2014 Governor Race on Twitter: January 2013 Stats

What a difference a month makes.  In December, Charlie Crist dominated Twitter with talk about his registering as a democrat.  Last month, it was pretty much all Rick Scott, with conversation about Medicaid and dogs:


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For Crist and Sink, it’s obscurity in comparison.  Just looking at the two of them, we can see that Crist is still leading in Twitter mentions:

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(Next month I’ll add Nan Rich into the charts.)

One important thing to note: Neither of the two of them are active on Twitter at this point, so all mentions are in response to news and commentary from others.

Some unsolicited advice to the candidates:

Rick Scott:

Try to find ways to make the conversation on Twitter about you more positive.  Find things that are symbolic grand gestures.  Something like saying that you want the state to pay the tuition of all Florida high school graduates who undertake a $10K college degree program in state.  That ought to consume a whole month or two of twitterdom.  Do that sort of thing once a month up to November 2014, and there’s no oxygen left for your competitors.  Call it your theme a month program.  Just be creative.

Charlie Crist:

Were you thinking of tweeting this year? That might help. Just tweet pictures of you doing whatever you’re doing  Find ironic or teasing things if nothing else: “Here’s me and my dog.  Yep, we’re going to keep her.” Or “Here’s Carole and me in front of the Governor’s mansion. One of these years I should probably give her a tour of it.” And may I point out that you and Carole are extremely photogenic?  No shame in selfies.

Alex Sink:

At least Charlie Crist tweeted more than once last year.  If it weren’t for your fans you’d be absent from Twitter.  Just tweeting links to articles about you that you half-way like would be a start. Since you’re the ex-CFO, why not talk about the state’s finances for a while?

Buddy Dyer:

At least Alex Sink has a twitter account. You could have fun with it. Get a twitter account and start with things like “Day 1: no tweets from lobbyists telling me how to vote. Is this thing on?” and “Day 2: If I have a campaign event with food, is that a large group feeding?” I assure you you will have thousands of followers in no time. You can become dull and safe later on.

Nan Rich:

You’re the most active person on Twitter of the democratic contenders. You win the gold star social media awareness. But very few people are following you — you need to work on getting your engagement higher. Start putting some hashtags into your tweets.  At the very least, tag every tweet with #sayfie to get it in front of the Florida political junkies.  There’s a lot more you can do. Remember, Marco Rubio snuck up on Charlie Crist by winning over social media.  You can do it too.

Final notes …

It’s still early, but now’s the time for the candidates to invest in building a social media presence.  In the thick of the campaign, when it’s needed, it will be hard to get attention and hard work to grow it.  Get it ready now when there’s time and it will pay dividends right through November ’14.