I exchanged emails with MoJo’s Adam Weinstein about the Romney video, here’s what he had to say…
How much advanced notice did you personally have that the first video was getting posted?
All of us in the DC bureau took an active role for a couple of weeks in vetting the video and prepping it for publication. Our social media team (they are minion!) prepped a list of tweets, from straight newsy to appropriately snarky. So we were ready to go at a moment’s notice. And thank goodness, since we didn’t know Huffington Post was going to publish their snippet when they did. Within a few hours of their release, we were prepared to launch the video, the stories, and our social media strategy.
What was the first tweet that Mother Jones - staffer or institutional - sent out about it?
Pretty sure it was this:
When could you tell that this was starting to go viral on Twitter?
We typically spend a lot of time in our timeline, replying to readers and mixing it up with critics. But almost immediately after we put the first video story out there, the timeline just turned into Niagara Falls - no way to keep up with hundreds of replies cascading, our API maxing out. You could practically smell smoke.
Big follower gain week? For you personally and/or @motherjones?
It was a pretty huge week of gained followership, both for the magazine and for each of our kickass team members, from our editors in chief to our interns. You could definitely measure the progress in percentage points. Personally, I usually lose as many as I gain, since I tend to go on epic twitterfight binges…
Who in media had the best reaction?
It’s an embarrassment of riches. The New Yorker had some thoughtful reactions. We always like seeing our stuff on the Daily Show, Colbert, Maddow, CNN. Josh Barro’s Bloomberg column and video appearance were definitely high points… although we’re a little miffed at the anchor, Matt Miller, in that clip, for calling us “the National Enquirer for the left.” Riiiiiiiiight. Bloomberg TV’s been good sports, though - they’ve invited our DC reporter, Adam Serwer, on air [last night] to give a rebuttal. Or, as we call it, laying down some Mother Pwnage.
The debate between who deserved credit felt pretty amicable, and when it was determined that Mother Jones came out on top, HuffPost seemed cool with that. Sound accurate from your perspective?
Let’s give credit to the source of the video too! Obviously, we can’t be prouder of David Corn for not only getting the whole tape, but also giving it his meticulous eye before rushing to publish. We have a long history of moving the national debate with smart, fearless reporting. But at the end of the day, the story was the thing, and it was done justice by two awesome media teams. From my perspective, to even be mentioned with Huff Po, an organization with such great resources reporting-wise and outreach-wise, is a nice credit to MoJo.
HuffPost has been trumpeting how their post is the most commented article in website history — with over 100 K comments. What social media metrics are you guys most proud of?
Man, our metrics are so blown-away, it’ll take some time to let the dust clear and really think about how this looked from an effects-based perspective. We’re especially interested in an analysis of our reporting’s mentions on Facebook - just from what we’ve gathered so far, compared to previous scoops, this is a different ballpark… on another planet… in an outlying galaxy.
Lastly, in hindsight, what would you do differently to roll something so explosive like this out in social?
Do more to anticipate the second-day stories and trends! Everyone here is a fantastic, intuitive social-media evangelist for our work, so we were ready for the rollout, and had a great reactive strategy. But when something blows up this big (and who can ever really predict that?), you need to find creative ways to continue to engage your readers and critics - so that, when you’re tweeting, facebooking, tumbling, and pinning, you stay true to a clear, connective voice that personifies all of your work. If corporations can be people, then so can magazines. Damn fine people!
A little more about A. Weinstein…
Adam Weinstein is Mother Jones’ engagement editor, having previously served the magazine as its national security reporter and copy editor. Before that, he worked at the Wall Street Journal, the Village Voice, and the Tallahassee Democrat. He’s written for the New York Times, New York magazine, GQ, and Newsweek. A Navy veteran, two-day Jeopardychampion and ex-political scientist, he also did a recession-fueled stint as a military contractor in Iraq.