There are crazy and wasteful things you can do on Twitter, like bribing people to like you. And there's genius work done by the likes of the master social marketers at KFC.

I don't typically think of political campaigns on social media as particularly adepts (except that AOC video ad of 2018, and her use of Twitter, are pure gold). And, love him or hate him, Trump's use of social media has also been keen, because he and his staff (no, it's not just him) get the intersection of political promotion and entertainment media. But Mike Bloomberg?

Bloomberg may be a creature of the media industry, and he's certainly a politician, but savvy in a popular media way? Not what you might expect. But apparently that's exactly what happened last night. During the Democratic debates, something really interesting on Twitter occurred beyond the bevy of eye-rolling commentary. Bloomberg's campaign account got hacked.

Or did it?

For hours, the craziest and funniest stuff was appearing. It started slowly, with "some interesting facts about Mike," like the name of the Boston hospital in which he was born (St. Elizabeth's), that he was in the Boy Scouts ("So he wasn't always the crazy, wild man you see today."), graduated with a B.S. in electrical engineering from Johns Hopkins, and pointing out that he managed to be elected mayor of New York City three times while growing up a Celtics fan.

And that was okay. Then things started getting a little twisted, with the challenge to spot the meatball that looked most like Bloomberg.

His role in a German soap opera.

(According to some online translators, that means something like "doctor institution city.")

A question about what remodeling Bloomberg should do in the White House other than an open office concept East Room (which I still think is the craziest promise of his career).

Or the location of his weekend getaway place.

The new presidential veto stamp choices.

A comment on Bloomberg not being in the debates (he can't get in because he's not taking donations).

The tweeting audience agreed that it would be more fun to release an ostrich onto the debate stage than a raccoon or Komodo dragon. (The last could get a bit messy.)

Some of it was pretty funny. Some ... eh. But, overall, a highly credible effort that left a good number of people on Twitter assuming that hackers had taken over the account. But then there was a capper, referring to Wisconsin as one of the critical battleground states that will decide the 2020 election.

Not a hack, just a pretty smart campaign to run counter to both the Democratic debate and Trump's own counterprogramming. Here's why it worked:

  • The campaign broke its stuffier image.
  • Some of the humor was quite good.
  • The impression of being hacked was done lightly, making it more believable.
  • The account poked fun at the debate approach and who should be allowed to speak.
  • The effort extended through the evening, kept on the theme, and ended with an actual conclusion.
  • The meatball should be a classic.

A great effort on the part of the social media staff for the campaign.