I could tell you about the time I hit a parked car in college while an old boyfriend watched nearby, or how when I was a reporter I filmed the wrong house for a story about a drug bust while the “right” house watched me from across the street. Those moments are embarrassing. But this story is a much better one; it got picked up by the news.
It all started a few years back while I was working for Senator Pat Roberts as his press secretary. I had just attended a Senate workshop for press secretaries, hosted by Twitter.
During the presentation, the Twitter guru insisted that as press officials, if we wanted to be successful with our personal Twitter accounts, we absolutely needed to find our own unique niche.
I wasn’t much into Twitter at the time, but when the forum ended, I walked back to my office feeling like I could really master this Twitter thing, if only I could figure out a unique niche. What was no one else doing? I was stumped.
During a moment of down time at work that day, I quietly perused the news, searching for something to inspire me on what my Twitter niche could be. Moments later, I came across this article. It was about 92 year-old identical twin brothers, who were Friars no less, who died on the same day, just hours apart. Isn’t that amazing? Because I am also an identical twin, I suppose this news story really spoke to me. How incredible that twin brothers would die on the same day! I decided then and there that my unique niche on Twitter would be to tweet about things relating to twins.
Looking back now, I realize such an uninspiring topic probably wouldn’t have amounted to much. But on that day, it seemed like I was really on to something.
My genius, inaugural tweet was simple: “Strange twin news,” it said, and I included the link to the article.
After that first inspired tweet with my newfound niche, I all but forgot about my new, soon-to-be mass following “twin” role on Twitter until a few days later.
I was combing through the morning news, as I did every morning, searching the local Kansas newspapers for mentions of my boss, Senator Roberts. It was my job to combine all those news clips and make a copy for the senator and our Chief of Staff.
As luck would have it, this was around the same time Congressman Anthony Weiner accidentally tweeted an inappropriate photo of himself, the first time. You remember that, right? So, naturally, Twitter was on the minds of many journalists.
This particular morning, it was also on the mind of a reporter from the Kansas City Star. In fact, his headline read, “On Twitter, Our Area Lawmakers aren’t Twits.” The article proceeded to discuss the boring things the Kansas and Missouri public officials had recently been tweeting. Fun topic, I thought as I read on… until I got further down the article where my boss was finally mentioned…
“Strange twin news,” Sen. Pat Roberts of Kansas tweeted the other day. Turns out that two brothers, identical twins who also were Franciscans, had just died on the same day at age 92. No kidding. Happened down in Florida. Is your pulse racing?
My pulse was indeed racing.
I stared at the screen in complete horror.
I was mortified. I reread it again, just to be sure: “‘Strange twin news,’ Sen. Pat Roberts of Kansas tweeted…”
Yes. It was real.
What had I done?!
My tweet about twins hadn’t been tweeted from my personal Twitter account at all. I had been logged in to Senator Roberts’ Twitter account.
I made my boss, a U.S. senator, tweet about twins. And now it was printed in the newspaper.
I’m quite certain my heart stopped for a moment.
I whirled around in my chair to see if my office mate, Senator Roberts’ Communications Director, had noticed my momentary loss of breath. She hadn’t.
I now had to break the news to her about my utter stupidity. I could not possibly keep this a secret. It was in the news.
It seemed as if the words tumbled out of my mouth in slow motion, “Sarah… I did something really embarrassing…”
Thank goodness for a coworker with a good sense of humor. She shrugged it off, laughing, “don’t worry, we’ve all done that before.”
All the same, I may not have included that Kansas City Star article into the stack of news clips for my boss that day.
If he ever saw it, I’m sure he probably laughed about it too. He was, after all, voted one of the funniest U.S. Senators several years running.
And in case you’re wondering, I never did tweet anything else about twins. Not on my account. Or anyone else’s.
|Kansas City Star, The (MO)
June 12, 2011
Former news reporter and Capitol Hill press guru, wife, mom, and pastry addict.