Good Tweet, Bad Tweet

A couple weeks ago, my parents and grandparents stumbled their way from Los Angeles to the District. Somewhere in between getting lost on the wrong side of the Key Bridge and chowing down at some of DC’s finest, I got stuck on a topic that I never talk about–social media.

Techies aren’t just born, they are bred.

I filled the 8 days I shared with my family with talk of tweets and pins, teaching them how to check-in on Facebook and explaining Twitter and Pinterest. The result? I was tagged into every restaurant we went to 3 times, and my grandpa (@MillenniumMayor) has been spam tweeting Karl Rove, Glenn Beck, Martha Maccallum, and Sarah Palin.

It’s not surprising when social media noobs like my family ask how to do Twitter the right way. I hesitate to say that there is a right or wrong way to tweet, but there are definitely better, more effective ways. Have I lost you?

Don’t fret–I have a perfect DC meets LA way to explain!

Bad Tweet

Earlier today, the US Embassy in Brussels tweeted:

The tweet references the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS) which had an event on the topic of women and counterterrorism (#WomenAndCT) yesterday afternoon. It’s a well-done tweet, with the exception of using the wrong handle for CSIS. On the other hand, CSIS does a terrible job with their response:

I have a ton of respect for (and would love to work for) the Center for Strategic and International Studies, but this tweet is simply bad form. CSIS has forwarded a modified tweet from the US Embassy in Brussels that looks like it was written by Justin Bieber after he raided his parent’s liquor cabinet. Why did they shorten keywords like instrument and expert and remove the space between 4 and peace, but leave important and according complete? This tweet could have read:

MT‏ @usembbrussels #Women are important weapon against terror & instrument 4 peace say experts @CSIS #terrorism #Verveer

Is this better? What do you think?

Good Tweet

If you are scoffing at seeing my own face listed under the title of good tweet, fear not. My vanity has not yet taken over.
Earlier this week, I had an exchange on Twitter which I think demonstrates best practices for political and advocacy Twitter usage. As an extra bonus, it also includes one of my favorite topics, Kim Kardashian!

Kim Kardashian took headlines by storm this week when she said on her reality show that she might consider running for Mayor of Glendale someday. The city of Glendale, sometimes referred to as “Little Armenia” by locals, is very close to where I grew up–in the same congressional district, in fact. Congressman Adam Schiff represents the district, and so I thought I’d poke a little fun at him and the situation.

I never expected a response, and yet within 24 hours:

What can politicians take away from this tweet? The response (1) demonstrated that he was actually listening and engaging rather than just broadcasting, (2) took the opportunity to share one of his positions that his constituents feel strongly about (Armenian Genocide), and (3) it felt personal and real, not stiff or like a form letter. These are the kind of interactions that politicians should be aiming for to maximize the impact of their online discussions.

But the conversation didn’t end there. No, Kim Kardashian didn’t chime in. @CharaGG, however, did:

The link posted goes to an indiegogo website that asks people to donate to her documentary project that deals with Armenian genocide. My guess is that she either follows Rep. Schiff due to his strong support of Armenian Genocide recognition, or she searched for Armenian genocide on Twitter and inserted herself into relevant conversations. In doing so, she tapped into a conversation that was already occurring online with people who care about a topic. This is good social networking. This is digital engagement.

Until next time.

A toast, “To Mayor Kardashian, may the stress of politics not make her want to pull her own extensions out.”

“The people drawn to Twitter are people on the cutting edge, the real nerds who are resentful of the fact that the general population have found and taken over Facebook”

~Steve Dotto, host of Dotto Tech


An Explanation

3534516458_48e4e8595fIf you are reading this post, I think it is safe to assume you are either family or a friend. Hypothetically, you should know a fair amount about me and what I am doing out here in DC.

I made that assumption. I thought, these people are my friends and my family. Turns out, not a safe assumption to make–not safe at all.

The night before I left for DC, my parents took me to a farewell dinner. It felt like my Last Supper–though, if I was going to have a last meal Roy’s wouldn’t be too bad. In typical Liane fashion, ever my Father’s Daughter, I spent an inordinate amount of time talking about myself. The waitress came over, smiling and waiting patiently as I blabbered about something I was “feeling” about the impending move. Eventually, I did need to pause to breathe and my mother politely turned to the waitress with pride and said, “She’s moving to DC for grad school tomorrow.” I excused myself to go to the bathroom and upon my return my mother throws this at me:

“The waitress asked what you were studying and I didn’t know what to tell her.”

I looked at my parents in utter disbelief. I started planning for graduate school my third year of college–over two years before that dinner. I’d prepared a binder of all my options. Not just any binder–color-coded, alphabetized, quick reference fact sheets–this was the kind of binder that Type-A, OCD, control freaks dream about. I’d spent more than one Sunday morning drinking coffee and flipping through my options with them. They were there every step of the way, as I narrowed my options. I’d chosen my program months ago and spent the time before I left having to tell every person we met about leaving. My mother could name every single class that my brothers were taking, but she had no idea what Master’s program was moving her one and only daughter across the country.

My eyes turned to my Dad, certain that the self-proclaimed “ultimate boyscout” would remember. Don’t they teach mnemonics in the Boy Scouts? Nope, another blank stare.

Why am I publicly chastising my parents for this action?

(1) To explain why I have an attention-seeking personality

(2) To ease your guilty conscience, since I’m pretty damn sure you don’t remember what I’m studying either

(3) To make them feel guilty before my birthday which is in 13 days!

This is the part where I play psychic and answer all the questions you are about to have:

Well, Liane, what DO you study?
Media and Public Affairs at George Washington University

What the hell does that mean?
The program focuses on the place where politics, media and public affairs intersect. Still confused?

What’s the point of that? Are there even jobs in that?
Absolutely! Media, and social media, is one of the largest growing fields in the country–inside and outside of academia. This kind of degree could open doors in new and traditional media organizations, government, politics and business. So, anywhere really!

What do you learn?
Currently I’m taking classes in Media Theory, Media and Foreign Policy and Research Methods. I will probably talk about some of that more in detail at a later date.

My research interests within this realm of study are still a little fragmented.

Generally, I am curious in how social media will continue to shift the way politicians interact with the public. As someone who witnessed the development of new media “on the frontlines”, I have strong feelings about the value that it has to society. The shift of the dynamics of interpersonal relationships and the construction of individual identity has been staggering, but I think we are still just beginning to see where new media can take us as a society.

In terms of  the “public affairs” side:

  • Politics, primarily Elections –Working on the Hill made me jaded about the amount that people can do once their representatives are actually in office. Elections, in my opinion, are still the most vital part of democracy.
  • Education–The children are our future–and I hate dumb people and I wish there were less of them.
  • Foreign policy–Since our education system sucks, globalization reigns supreme, and I don’t have the time to learn Chinese.

Well, now that you know what I’m studying–I should probably actually go study

A toast, TO BOOKS!

“A room without books is like a body without a soul.”

A Nod to the Future

If you have not downloaded and used a QR reader on your smartphone, you might as well be using your mobile as a paperweight.

My initial exposure to QR codes (Quick Response Codes) happened over a year ago, though I don’t remember the exact circumstances. Although I recognized that it was “cool”, I wasn’t sold on its utility in the current sphere of technology advancements. Despite the growing prevalence and influence of mobile media (stuff you can do on your cell phone), especially in this globalized world, there just didn’t seem to be a market for this technology–yet. Much like the early days of Facebook and Twitter, people knew they liked it and they knew there was potential, but people hadn’t figured out the true scope of what it could become.

The first time I used a QR code and reader in practice was during the gubernatorial election in California. I’d done my homework and I knew my candidates and my issues. As a majority of these synced up with the voting guide of a rather well-known talking head duo, I simply snapped a picture of the QR code they provided for direct access to their voting guide and ran out the door. When I got to the polling place, my voting guide was conveniently pulled up on my mobile browser. I enacted my civil duty and continued on with my day.

It’s said that technology comes to politics 3-5 years after it hits the commercial sector. I guess that didn’t apply here.

QR codes, with all their potential, have been grossly underused. However, I think that is about to change.

I’m going start by challenging you to download a free QR reader on your phone. I currently have the rather cryptically named “QR Reader for iPhone”. Next, open the app and use your camera to scan the picture of my QR code above. Pretty cool, right?

There have been numerous articles written in the last year or so about the potential that QR codes. If you don’t think that QR codes can benefit you or your business, you are wrong. I challenge you to comment, and I will give you great examples of how you can integrate this new, FREE technology into your life.

I know this sounds like some kind of weird sales pitch. But you have to admit–in this Reality 2.0, technocentric world getting ahead in life means getting ahead of technology. Also, I just wanted an excuse to make a QR code for my blog–which ideally I will be updating more regularly now that I am getting into the flow out here.

If you are interested in knowing more about QR codes, here is a link that will give you more information on what they are and what is currently being said about them on the technoblogosphere:

As a sidenote, is one of my new favorite sites. It primarily handles things like the future of new, social and mobile media but in a real and interesting way. Not too much jargon with very practical suggestions and insights. You might want to check it out!

Don’t forget! If you want me to tell you how QR codes can improve your life–COMMENT!

To techocentrism and the people who know what that means!

If it keeps up, man will atrophy all his limbs but the push-button finger. 
~Frank Lloyd Wright


An Outing

In my last post I vaguely and somewhat distractedly recounted the beginning of my adventure in Foggy Bottom. Here is a continuation of that outing.

Foggy Bottom, as I said before, is the area of DC where GW is located. It is a beautiful part of the city as well as one of the most historic.

Click here for a wikihistory of the area.

(Including where the name Foggy Bottom came from)

One of my favorite things about  DC is the architecture. The houses are built up against each other but each one has such a distinct personality. You can almost imagine what the people who live in the house are like based upon their house. I mean there is definitely not an MMA fighter living in that pink house on the right. The pale grey house with the black trim and red detailing is striking, I imagine that whoever lives there is extremely stylish and artistic, a perfectionist with an eye for details. The teal house on the left is more likely to house a person who wants to stand out but can never quite muster the courage, he/she/they are no fuss and easygoing, maybe even a little reckless. Do you see what I mean? What do you think?

Washington DC is a classy city. People are (almost) always put together and refined. They edit themselves, sometimes to the point of boring, but let’s reserve judgement. A perfect example of the kind of city DC is? This 7-11. Is this not the classiest 7-11 you’ve ever seen? It’s borderline ridiculous.

This is a bust of George Washington, a reluctant first President of these United States. If you haven’t seen the John Adams HBO Series, you should. GDub is a baller, but not as much as Thomas Jefferson. John Adams is a whiny jerk & Ben Franklin is a manwhore.

This is the Media & Public Affairs building at GW. In case you didn’t know, I am studying to get my Masters in Media and Public Affairs. I’ll write an extended post on that at some point.



In the window of the Media and Public Affairs building, I saw this statue. I thought it was pretty interesting. It reminds me of the statues throughout Berlin of the Berlin bear. (see Notebook of a Nomad for a post with dozens of pictures of me next to these statues) I’m not sure how I want to interpret this one though.

I’ll let you vote (this is just an excuse for me to play around with all the little extras):

This is the Trustees Gate at GW. I included it just because I think it is pretty and I’m dying to study in that courtyard. Doesn’t it look inviting?

A Toast, “To George Washington: the man, the myth, the legend”

One of my favorite quotes, and something I strive to live by, despite what this blog may lend you to believe:

“Be courteous to all, but intimate with few, and let those few be well tried before you give them your confidence.”
~George Washington