Alaska Governor Sarah Palin abruptly resigned on Friday afternoon, the first day of a 3-day holiday weekend. In the old days, circa 2007, breaking bad or controversial news on a so-called “slow day” like this was a viable PR strategy. The Bush Administration’s communications people had perfected this to a T.
But that was then, this is now. When perhaps one of the most controversial politicians in America decides to step down, in a hastily called announcement in the remotest state in the Union, it’s doubtful Savvy Sarah thought she could get away with the old “slow day” maneuver. In fact, her m.o. here was doing this “hastily” — calling a few local media to cover the announcement 30 minutes prior to. The speech was rambling, there were no answers as to why the sudden step down. And, so the Internet lit up like a Christmas tree.
Thanks to smartphones and laptops combined with the power of social networking, the mysterious resignation of the Alaska governor somehow found you — at the beach, on the road, no matter how far you might have been from a TV set with CNN. And while pundits and then some took to Twitter and Facebook to post links and get the commentary started, it was Ms. Palin herself, who showed up on Twitter shortly afterward, to enlighten us some more — or not.
Palin’s Tweets and Facebook posts over the past few days have been a virtual press conference, where she answers questions that only she hears, with 140 characters or less. Statements like,
We’ll soon attach info on decision to not seek re-election… this is in Alaska’s best interest, my family’s happy… it is good, stay tuned
Unfortunately fake “Gov Sarah Palin” twitter sites r doing their thing today:unscrupulous, untrue- so sorry if u recv false info @ fake site
To see full text of the letter from my attorney on baseless allegations of past 24hrs check http://tinyurl.com/mmhv4u
Grateful Todd left fishing grnds to join me this wkend; but now he’s back slaying salmon & working the kids @ the site; anxious to join ’em!
The Sarah Palin virtual press conference is an interesting phenomenon. With dying newspapers and re-tooled PR strategies, is the press conference the next old school communications tool to get a makeover? After all, who wants to stand in front of pack of reporters asking real questions you might not have the answers to, questions that demand you think on your feet and and break a sweat, when you (or your social media manager) can spout off answers to questions no one’s asking on Twitter and Facebook, in a place even more remote than Alaska — the so close, yet so distant land of cyberspace?
Oh, and btw, if you want to follow Sarah Palin on Twitter, click here. She’s added about 22,000 new followers since Sunday afternoon.