As a politician, few actions endear you to your constituency more than backing the hometown team. Throwing out the first pitch; dropping the puck; or even something as simple as throwing out some support on your Twitter account.
Just make sure your team actually wins before you congratulate them on a hard-fought victory.
Things went terribly awry in social media land for Iowa Senator Joni Ernst on Saturday. The Iowa Hawkeyes took on the Michigan State Spartans in the Big Ten Championship game—and lost 16-13. The problem? Joni Ernst (more likely a staff member) sent out a congratulations tweet to Iowa for winning the big game.
As quickly as something like supporting the local team can ingratiate politicians to their constituency, these types of mistakes can disenchant them as well. It could be a simple mistake, and it could be pandering—but it’s probably both. Either way, it just looks really, really bad.
Social media is a new facet of politics, and one that I imagine many politicians view as a “necessary evil.” It’s a space that they are not used to or acclimated with, but one that provides a massive platform for their views—just look at Donald Trump. Incorporating a social media campaign is now intrinsic to any political operation, but mistakes like Joni Ernst’s can have longstanding consequences.
Moral of the story? Check before you hit “post.”