On Monday, July 21, Kurt Wagner of Mashable was one of many people who reported that Hillary Clinton would be conducting live question and answer sessions on Facebook and Twitter that afternoon as part of a series of events being used to promote her new book "Hard Choices." The Facebook Q and A took place on the page dedicated to her memoir about what she learned during the four years she served as secretary of state.
The Facebook Q and A generated 433 comments. By 6:30 p.m. Pacific Standard Time, it had been liked 1,208 times and shared 102 times. Devin Coldewey of NBC News reported that Clinton answered 20 questions over approximately half an hour about a variety of topics ranging from the current conflict in Gaza to how to get a signed copy of her book.
According to Coldewey, "The former secretary of state, senator and first lady indicated support for women's contraception, complimented President Barack Obama's handling of recent events and discussed her taste in books ('The Brothers Karamazov' for her, 'Goodnight Moon' to read to her soon-to-be-born grandchild). She also carefully avoided the many questions relating to a possible 2016 presidential candidacy — though she answered 'hypothetically' on what should be the first priority for 2016's victor."
In addition to using social media to interact with her readers and supporters, she also visited Facebook headquarters in Menlo Park, California and Twitter's headquarters in San Francisco where she participated in more Q and A sessions with people who work for those companies. The general consensus seems to be these events were really about testing the waters before she decides to run for president as much as they were about her book and the various issues of the day she discussed. Wagner seems to agree with this assessment.
According to Wagner, "It's likely Clinton hopes to accomplish more than a simple book tour with her Bay Area visit. The former Secretary has been offering several coy hints that she will throw her hat into the ring for the 2016 contest. On the Daily Show with Jon Stewart last week, Clinton joked that she wanted an office with 'fewer corners,' a clear reference the the Oval Office.
"When Barack Obama was elected back in 2008, some news organizations tabbed his campaign's social media use as the difference maker in the election. Clinton has upped her social media game over the past year. Since joining Twitter last June, she's amassed 1.6 million followers and exchanges tweets with celebrities such as Katy Perry."
Clinton ended the Facebook session by thanking everyone who participated. She then explained how people could request autographed copies of her new book.
According to Clinton, "Thank you all for joining me today. Nothing hard about the choice to come to Facebook. To learn more about Hard Choices, visit http://www.hillaryclintonmemoir.com. It’s been a real treat answering all of your questions.
"Many of you asked me today how to get a copy of 'Hard Choices' signed. Happy to do it if you send me a book! Email firstname.lastname@example.org and we will tell you what do to. Thanks for your interest."
People in the greater Spokane area who want to read the whole thing for themselves should visit her Facebook page. Among other things, they will see that Clinton considers her late mother to be her biggest influence, she supported the closing of Guatanamo Bay and that she might be willing to support an amendment that would overturn the "Citizen's United" ruling. The Q and A probably won't convert anyone who opposes her views to her cause, but it still provides some insights into how she views the world.