Considering Hillary Clinton lost the 2008 election due, at least in part, to being stacked up against the very social media-savvy Barack Obama, it was a move that seemed as odd as it was underwhelming. On Sunday, a little under three hours after Clinton was reportedly supposed to announce her candidacy via a video on social media, news came that Clinton was running for president on email. Yes, email. A method that's so dated, you had already been using it for a decade by the time you were using AIM on your Indigo iMac.
Now, to be fair, the email — which came from campaign chief John Podesta — was not an announcement from Clinton, per se. Instead, it was a blast to 2008 campaign supporters informing them that Clinton was, indeed, running for president, as so many of them likely suspected. As the exact text from Podesta's email read:
I wanted to make sure you hear it first from me — it's official: Hillary's running for president.
She is hitting the road to Iowa to start talking directly with voters. There will be a formal kickoff event next month, and we look forward to seeing you there.
We'll be holding a special call for Clinton alumni at 9:30 p.m. ET tonight ... There is more to come — keep an eye out for an email from Hillary coming soon!
For now, we just want to say thanks. We need to make the middle class mean something again. We can do this.
Of course, the chances of that email not getting leaked are about as good as the chances that Ted Cruz will ever listen to rock music again. So, though not an official announcement, it's likely that Podesta and the campaign team had an idea it would beat the real announcement, which came via a video on YouTube that mimicked a campaign ad more than anything else, to the punch.
And the video, inevitably, was followed up by a tweet:
Still, anyone diligently watching Twitter for the news of her candidacy was first delivered it via that email. And for that to be followed up by a YouTube video (one of the more dated social media networks, even if successful), and, eventually, a tweet, seems a bit odd for a woman who is conscious of the need for a digital strategy after her failure to have an effective one in 2008. And underwhelming, considering there are so many social media networks to utilize creatively for one's campaign.
Indeed, no one wants to be seen as more behind the times than Rand Paul.
And then there's the fact that Podesta's announcement email brings about inevitable links to the email scandal Clinton has faced in recent weeks, when it was discovered that the former Secretary of State used a private email address while in office. That practice was, experts say, "not technically legal." (Clinton responded by saying she used her private address for convenience, and admitted that "it would have been better" to use two. Her team also handed over 55,000 pages of emails documented during her time as Secretary of State.) Needless to say, seeing the word "email" in the news alongside "Clinton" only serves as a reminder of the scandal.
Or is this the tech-savviest move of all? Hey, if there's one way to push down unfavorable Google results surrounding "Clinton" and "email," it's to announce a candidacy over email.
And it's hard to blame Clinton for utilizing YouTube, one of the biggest social media networks in the world, to her advantage. Not only is it a highly trafficked network, but it is one that's relevant to both young, hip voters enjoying videos from Jenna Marbles and Michelle Phan, and older voters browsing the network for videos from adorable animals and grandchildren. I would suggest Clinton have tried Snapchat or Vine to prove her tech prowess, but there's more for Clinton to worry about than just millennials or 13-year-olds Cameron Dallas fans that will be able to vote in 2020.
Still, there's a long campaign road up ahead, and, in order to snag the nomination, unlike she did in 2008, she needs to keep up with social media, and prove that she, yes, can even identify with the One Direction generation. And though it seems like she's headed in the right direction — The Washington Post reported Clinton had hired Google executive Stephanie Hannon to "build new ways for Clinton to engage with voters" — it's not hard to imagine the former Secretary of State needing a crash course in the bottomless pit of available social media networks. (Can we imagine she's even ever heard of Ello?)
So, come on, Hillary — give us more than a video and a tweet. An Instagram of whatever brunch you were eating when you announced on Sunday? A snap of you and Bill Clinton imitating Kate McKinnon and Darrell Hammond? We've even gone as far as to make you an emoji — meet us halfway!