POLITICS

In the end, Hillary Clinton wins over the Internet

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Yeas and Nays,Politics,Nikki Schwab,Hillary Clinton

This is it. Or maybe not, perhaps. But on Friday, Hillary Clinton leaves the State Department, topping off a resume that also includes first lady, U.S. senator and online meme generator. But Clinton's online persona wasn't always so healthy.

Back in January 2007, if you recall, Clinton announced her presidential ambitions via YouTube. "Let the conversation begin," she beckoned, inviting America to join her for upcoming live online video chats. Two months later that video brought a much more popular rebuttal, a remix really, as Blue State Digital's Phil de Vellis inserted Clinton's words into Apple's Orwellian "Think Different" commercial and thus the viral pro-Obama video "Vote Different" took form. "This ad was not the first citizen ad, and it will not be the last," de Vellis proclaimed to the Huffington Post at the time. "The game has changed."

Fast forward to more recent history and things have changed again. "We didn't have Tumblr and Twitter and these avenues where really anyone can kind of create something that goes viral and becomes popular in a really short time," explained Buzzfeed's Hillary Reinsberg, who has covered the other Hillary for the Web-savvy news site.

One of those viral sites was TextsfromHillary.com, created by Stacy Lambe and Adam Smith, imagining what Clinton might say to Anthony Weiner, Lady Gaga or a lame-joke-telling Joe Biden. "A lot of that had to do with it just being a really great photo," Reinsberg pointed out, noting that other popular Clinton moments online include the secretary of state dancing and drinking beer in Colombia and donning goofy purple and green cat eye sunglasses during a swearing-in ceremony. "She's done things like that," Reinsberg said. "Of course that's going to go viral on the Internet, how could it not? It's just fun."

Going forward, Clinton could continue to stay relevant by launching her own Twitter account or Facebook page. "The thing about these Internet phenomenons is they don't last forever," Reinsberg said.

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