Five Social Media Lessons for @Messina2012 About His Chimichanga Tweet

Social media is quick and social media is brutal. If you are going to use platforms like Twitter, expect to be called out, no matter who you are or what you do. EVERYONE is now a web page, and every profile is just as important as every other profile. The ability to quickly send out a message to thousands or even millions is powerful. But just like any power, you must respect it or else it will bite you in the culo.

We have been covering countless instances where social media gaffes have led to US Congressmen resigning for tweeting pics of their junk, major beer brands removing ads that were offensive to the NYC Puerto Rican community, Taco Mayors getting called out for their ignorant comments, and major networks perpetuating stereotypes with lame-ass comedy in the name of Latino unity. Add to the mix the whole clueless comments by major political candidates and their deep misunderstanding of how to gain the US Latino vote, and you ask yourself: DO PEOPLE IN POWER TRULY UNDERSTAND THAT THE DIGITAL WORLD IS FLAT NOW? Do they realize that their tweets, shares, notes, comments, and opinions are open to more scrutiny and criticism? And do they even realize the the most effective way to actually "be ahead of the story" and be "in control of their message" is to respond quickly, honestly, and without the traditional old media (and slower) response?

No. They still don't get it.

Take the case of Jim Messina, the campaign manager for Obama 2012, who this morning at 9 am EST probably thought that the following tweet would get him some chuckles and earn him some points. (Lesson #1: It is clear that Messina doesn't really "get" Twitter, especially since he has less than 200 tweets and doesn't understand that to be effective on Twitter, you truly need to ENGAGE and RESPOND to the stream. 197 tweets is a sign that all your profile does is a bit of one-way communication, which in the land of Twitter, is a major #FAIL.) Here is the tweet:

Lesson #2: Really really know what you are tweeting about. There is really no Latino we know that associates his or her cultural identity with a chimichanga. What if Messina tweeted out the following?

"Line of the day from WAPO's Dana Milbank: Fried chicken? It might be the only thing left the GOP could offer Blacks."

"Line of the day from WAPO's Dana Milbank: Chopsticks? It might be the only thing left the GOP could offer Asians."

"Line of the day from WAPO's Dana Milbank: Whiskey? It might be the only thing left the GOP could offer the Irish."

and so on and so on.

The point is this: if you are going to get into the world of ethnic identity and treat a group, ANY GROUP, as one monolithic voting bloc, you will truly need to understand the complexities of cultural identity and stereotyping. If you don't, here's some advice: don't make your views public.

Lesson #3: If you are going to tweet something that you REALLY want to put in context, you have ways to do it. First, call out the profile of the person you are quoting. Second, add a link from the column you are referring in the tweet. What you DON'T do is set up it with a Obama 2012-approved tweet of the day seal. And you definitely don't make the tweet appear that the campaign manager of Obama 2012 is endorsing a columnist's dumb and stereotypical line in the interest of appealing to US Latino voters. That was Messina's Twitter mistake. After that, once the tweet it out there, you become a like a Roman prisoner in the Coliseum, waiting for the crazed lions to pounce on you.

Lesson #4: If you DO tweet out your mistake, be prepared to respond and respond quickly. Messina's Twitter account failed big time in this instance. We kind of gave this same advice to Amaury Nolasco last month, but we will say it again: once you tweet out to the Twitterverse, you are fair game. It is rough out there, it is tough, and if you are not ready to respond and respond authentically, you are only adding fuel to the fire.

And then profiles like @SooperMexican are ready to attack and guess what, that profile, even though the Sooper is a bit too partisan for our taste in most instances, he knows how to play the Twitter game and for that we give him props and respect. Sooper made this story Messina's Twitter mistake and Messina let him do it. Messina lost the momentum of the story because he didn't respond quickly enough. Well played, Sooper. Too bad you don't do the same when GOP politicians talk about electric fences killing illegals, Arizona sheriffs push racism in their policing tactic or when people in general insult Latinos with dumb ignorant comments. We would love to have you speak out against that, too. But it's cool, you do what you do and you stay true to yourself, and that is why even though we don't agree with you on everything (although today we can share one big chimichanga together), we still respect you because you are honest and stick to your guns.

Lesson #5: When you DO respond with another tweet, don't hide behind the intent of your first tweet with something like this:

Instead, be humble, be authentic, be apologetic. Use humor. Say you screwed up and that you are sorry and that your intent was to just quote a column you read that day. But don't tweet, hey, we still know better even though I had previously tweeted something that would piss off a sector of people whose vote I am trying to court.

Granted, in the end ChiminchangaGate (or whatever it is called) will not turn the tide for the GOP. Like Ricky Ricardo used to say, "You got a lot of explainin' to do." However, Democrats and the people in influential positions of leadership in the Democratic party (like the President's campaign manager) are just having a big Latino Panderfiesta when they tweet out thoughts like Messina's.

Leave the chimichangas to Taco Bell. Focus on the real issues that will gain you the Latino vote: jobs, the economy, a passage of the Dream Act, a more realistic and comprehensive immigration policy. Focus on that and leave Twitter to the people who know Twitter. Let the GOP try to figure out how to truly capture 25% of the US Latino vote. They will be lucky if they get 15%, but chimichanga tweets don't help.

And while you are at, @Messina2012, just say that you goofed and move on.

Democratic National Convention Committee Announces Mayor Villaraigosa Convention Chair

For Immediate Release

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Contact: Kristie Greco, 704-338-7049

CHARLOTTE – The Democratic National Convention Committee (DNCC) today announced that Democratic National Committee (DNC) Chair Debbie Wasserman Schultz will nominate Los Angeles Mayor, Antonio Villaraigosa Permanent Chair of the 2012 Democratic National Convention.  DNC Chair Wasserman Schultz’s nomination of Mayor Villaraigosa will be presented to the Convention Rules Committee and then voted on by the delegates to the 2012 Convention at the opening session.
“Mayor Villaraigosa has dedicated his career to civic engagement and empowering people at the grassroots,” said DNC Chair Wasserman Schultz.  “And that’s exactly what we need to be successful at this convention—input and engagement from Americans across the country.”
The Permanent Chair presides over the convention proceedings, ensuring order, decorum and efficiency as the party nominates its presidential and vice presidential candidates, adopts the national platform and conducts other important business.  The Permanent Chair also acts as another national spokesperson for the convention.
“It’s an honor to be nominated as Permanent Chair of the convention,” said Mayor Villaraigosa. “The president began his journey five years ago with a conversation—friends reaching out to neighbors and families talking around the dinner table.  At this convention we want to engage Americans in a conversation about how we can strengthen the country in a way that creates more opportunity for all.”
The DNCC will also release a web video today with Mayor Villaraigosa calling on people to raise their voice and let convention planners know what they can do to make the 2012 Democratic National Convention more open and accessible.  People can share ideas and watch the web video here.
The DNCC announced in late January changes in format and venue that will allow tens of thousands more people to be engaged in the convention.  Convention week will open with a family-friendly Labor Day event at Charlotte Motor Speedway on Monday, September 3, that will be open to people from across the region and around the country.  Delegates will vote on Mayor Villaraigosa’s nomination at the convention’s opening session and he will preside over convention proceedings at Time Warner Cable Arena, on Tuesday, September 4, and Wednesday, September 5.  And on Thursday September 6, the President will accept the nomination at Bank of America Stadium, where once again, the public will be invited to attend.
As a high school student, Villaraigosa volunteered with the farm workers movement and led student walkouts. Before he was elected to public office he worked as a union organizer.  Villariagosa is currently serving in his second term as Mayor of Los Angeles, and also serves as President of the U.S. Conference of Mayors.

Why Did @Messina2012 Have to Go There With A Tired Stereotypical Tweet?

Twitter is a tough place, especially when you try to tweet something in 140 characters. Take the care of Jim Messina, who is the campaign manager for Obama 2012. This is what he tweeted out this morning:

Messina was referring to a column by The Washington Post's Dana Milbank entitled "Does the GOP care about Latinos?" It was actually a very interesting column that show differences between certain factions of the GOP that are looking at the US Latino voter. In one camp, you have the Jeb Bushes of the world (with a new appearance by Marco Rubio), who are basically telling their colleagues to stop the anti-immigration rhetoric. In the other camp, you have the Rand Pauls of the world who seem to be on another planet.

Like we have always said, the GOP had its golden opportunity to capitalize on US Latinos' dissatisfaction with President Obama, whether it is with the economy, his Deporter-in-Chief status, or his failure to push the passing of the DREAM Act. But instead, the major GOP candidates talked about electric fences, deporting 14 million people and siding with the party's more nativist sector. The GOP is struggling to capture the Latino vote more than ever, but it is failing, and even their own people are saying it. (Bush, Rubio, etc.)

But that doesn't mean Messina and Obama 2012 get a free pass. Granted, Milbank's column line was in response to a line given by Senator John McCain who was touting how the chimichanga was one of Latino Arizona's greatest contributions to the US. McCain failed by missing the point, and Milbank played into it, but we can understand what he was doing as a column. Even though it was dumb.

Messina, however, just tweets out a tweet that from first glance is so out of touch with the complexities of the US Latino voters. Hell, we don't even know Mexicans who eat chimichangas, which is a Tex Mex food concoction and is about as Latino as say, a bad Los Lobos cover band that is headed up by some cowboys. (Granted, some who will see this tweet and who are Latino will find the tweet funny and witty, and that is a problem too.)

Silly tweet games won't win you votes and Messina just played into it and it was wrong and offensive. Stop the Panderfiesta, guys, and start waking up to the fact that the US Latino vote is not a given this election year. Just a little bit more respect would go a long way.

Messina's tweet is just as dumb as any other stereotypes we see, whether is comes to celebrating Jeremy Lin's Asian-ness or denouncing the comments from a Taco Mayor. Word of advice to Messina: when you tweet something out like that, just give it more context, link back to the original poster or column. And take a pause before you do it. You enter dangerous territory when you start pandering.

Maybe we should tweet this out to Messina:



In this case, we tend to side with the typical Washington reaction that is going to come out of this. Here is a post from The Hill:

"The fact that the campaign manager of President Obama's reelection campaign thinks it's appropriate to disseminate insulting jokes about the Hispanic community is a perfect example of the kind of empty rhetoric that characterizes this White House's so-called outreach to Latinos. We demand that Mr. Messina immediately apologize and we ask that President Obama disavow his campaign manager's ridiculous statement," said Jennifer Sevilla Korn, executive director of the conservative Hispanic Leadership Network, in a statement.

The Republican National Committee (RNC) also hammered Messina over the comments. The RNC's Latino Twitter account re-tweeted one user's comment telling Messina, "[N]ot to try and insult your intelligence or anything, but not all Hispanics are about chimichangas."

The New York Post Fails (Again) with Jeremy Lin Sports Headline

The New York Post. We know, it is not the bastion of journalism, but still. Take the case of the Jeremy Lin Phenomenon. The puns on Lin's name (Linsanity, Lintendo, Linning, AllLin., etc) have been played and played and played. Now the Post gives us this today:

Which leads us to think, when will the following headlines show up in the Post?

Victor Cruz TD for NY Giants: ¡SPIC-Tacular!

Mark Sanchez Shines for NY Jets: Chi-CAN-yes or MEX-i-CAN

CC Sabathia Pitches Shutout: Black-out!

The time to STOP labeling Lin is NOW. Let's enjoy his talents and count our blessings that his skills have basically revived a storied franchise and added life back to the Mecca of Basketball. We don't care if he is a damn Martian, JLIN can bring it. How about for the next time: 3-POINT WINNER!!! or 6 IN A ROW!

Catch Lin's winner against the Raptors here.

Santorum on Women in Combat and Radical Feminism: And Now He Is the Front-Runner

Say what you want about Rick Santorum, but right now as of the morning, the former Pennsylvania senator has taken the front-runner baton in the GOP presidential race. (Has anyone even seen Newt Gingrich these days?)

The latest polls out of Michigan show Santorum is in a statistical dead heat with Mitt Romney. Michigan is basically Romney's home state. 

In addition, Real Clear Politics posted the latest polls and Santorum right now is leading in both Michigan and Ohio, key swing states.

In the meantime, Santorum continues to offer some strange thoughts. First off, women in combat.

If you're out there, for example, in a group, or just two people, and some people, because of women, have, as you know with respect to physical capabilities, they don't have the same requirements that men do in the military, and may be in a position if someone is injured, has to be brought back.

The other example is the emotions of men, dealing with women in combat, and having men not focusing potentially on the mission but on the natural instinct to protect someone that's a female.

Next up, an appearance on Meet the Press.

David Gregory:  Let me ask you one more question about women. If you are President of the United States, and women want to work in your administration. Do single women without children only need apply? Are you going to respect the decision of women to come work for you if that’s the choice they make, or would they be somehow held by radical feminists?

Santorum: Well, I think if you go back and look at the people who have worked for me you’d find single women, we have married women, you’ve got all sorts of folks. You know, those are decisions I affirm. If women want to come into the workforce, great.  If they don’t, that’s great.  You know, we’re going to look at the best-qualified people and there will be plenty of working moms who will be in our administration and be adding greatly to the conservative cause I believe in.

Finally, Santorum appears on ABC with George Stephanopoulos, when talking about the feminist dilemma and a book Santorum and his wife wrote called "It Takes a Family" (as a response to Hilary Clinton's "It Takes a Village.")

Santorum: Well, that section of the book was co-written, if you want to be honest about it, by my wife, who is a nurse and a lawyer. And when she gave up that practice and she gave up, you know, nursing to raise a family, I mean, she felt very much that society was sort of — in many cases, looked down their nose at that decision.  And all I’ve said is — and in talking with my wife and others like her — who’ve given up their careers that they should be affirmed in their decision like everybody else and that these are choices, and they’re tough choices.

I think it’s important that women both outside the home and inside the home are affirmed for their choices they make, that they are, in fact, choices, and society, you know, treats them in a sense equally for whatever decision they make that’s best for them.”

Stephanopoulos: You say that now, but you also wrote in the book that radical feminists have been making the pitch that justice demands that men and women be given an equal opportunity to make it to the top in the workplace.  Isn’t that something that everyone should value?”

Santorum: Yeah, I have no problem — I don’t know — that’s a new quote for me. I don’t know what context that was given.  But the bottom line is that people should have equal opportunity to rise in the workforce.  And, again, if you read the entire section, I don’t think anyone will have a problem with the fact that what I was calling for — very clearly calling for is the treatment of an affirmation of whatever decision women decide to make.