My 5 Fave #Election2012 Tweets (So Far)

Who else isn't watching election coverage on TV tonight? I'm relying on my Twitter network to keep me in the know about #Election2012.

Being the Social Media nerd I am, three different hashtags are blowing up my TweetDeck and I'm almost overwhelmed by the mix of emotion, humor, facts, and discussion ... Know what else is blowing my mind? Some rad examples of social media engagement and promotion in real time. Thanks Obama!

Here are a few of my favorite tweets from You Decide 2012 Presidential Election Night (So Far):

Why I like this Tweet: it is downright offensive... but it grabs your attention. It's risky (and most people aren't willing to take that bet) but it appears to have worked. 232 Retweets and 41 Favorites -- that's a lot of shares for someone called Cocaine Papii.

Why I like this Tweet: Cristin is a twiend of mine and Community Manager for Chevy. This Tweet shares an interesting statistic as well as a personal element. To me, it shows the perfect line between professional and personal. This is not easy to do.

Why I like this Tweet: Amber is live tweeting the election coverage (thanks girl). Less than a minute after this was Tweeted it was shared. That is the definition of influence! This Tweet, followed by the action of her Follower, reinforces Amber's online reputation for being 'in-the-know'. Beautiful!

Why I like this Tweet: Alyssa Milano is a great example of a celebrity who uses Social Media 'right'. She leverages the platform to bring awareness to causes she believes in and actually shares relevant information with her followers. This single Tweet has over 5K Retweets and over 300 Favorites since 2 PM today (and the night's not over). This single Tweet as been shared for nine hours and is still going. How many clicks do you think that link received? How many new followers did @stevesilberman get? What I would give to look at that data!

 Why I like this Tweet: What a clever way to encourage social sharing -- mirror the presidential race with a social competition.

I also think this Tweet is very telling about the alleged success of Obama's social campaign.

Do you think the RTs from @FollowMeObama are foreshadowing to the actual results? Why or why not? Let me know your thoughts and share your favorite #Election2012 Tweets in the comments.

The Top 5 Reasons Why List Posts Are Amazing

This is a guest post from Ryan Brock.

List posts provide structure to your reads, among other things.
I've been writing these words you're reading for weeks. Months, even. When you write and edit and manage content for a living, it's the hardest thing in the world to make time for something simple like a guest post. They say the same is true for designers, or any other creative, for that matter. I'll sit down at my computer with a list of things to do - edit those articles for a client, write a whitepaper, knock out a guest post - and the part of the list that makes me no money - the guest post - always takes lowest priority.

So every time I would find ten or 15 minutes to work, I'd try to make headway on this post. Every time, I'd have an inclination to take it one way or another. I'd want to write about the five rules of Internet style one day, or about 10 tips for writing engaging copy. I was never quite satisfied with the stuff I was coming up with, but I did notice one obvious trend: no matter where my mind wandered, I was making lists each time.

This is funny to me, because you hear professional writers complaining ALL THE TIME about how list posts suck, how they are expected and constricting. I couldn't agree more about the expected and constricting bit, but I happen to think that expected and constricting can be very good things on the web. With all the list post hate out there, I think our numbered pals could use a champion. Might as well be me.

So instead of sharing any of the thoughts I originally had for this guest post, I thought I would offer up these, the TOP 5 REASONS WHY LIST POSTS ARE AMAZING AND YOU SHOULD ALL STOP COMPLAINING:

5. They fill space.
Think about how many times you've visited sites with lists that make you click through to advance to the next item. You do it because you're a slave to lists (more on that in a bit), and the publishers rake in the ad money as you click away. For that reason, many writers make it a goal to fit their content into lists that are easy to split. But even for sites that don't split their lists up - Cracked comes to mind - it's so much easier for a writer to conceive an entire article if that writer can work toward a goal of 5 widgets or 10 whatsits. It's like you get 5 or 10 different opportunities to work in a new intro and conclusion, and that means list posts basically write themselves. For writers who turn out 10-15 articles a day, that's a plus.

4. The structure is convenient for readers.
But beyond the convenience lists offer writers, there is a certain implicit convenience that readers derive from list posts. In my book, Nothing New: An Irreverent History of Storytelling and Social Media, I presented the story of Virgil's Aeneid as an early, early example of what we now call content marketing. With the Aeneid, Virgil and the emperor Augustus were able to sway the hearts of the newly-founded empire's subjects by telling a great story with a poem. That poem was written to match Homer's Greek epics, the Iliad and the Odyssey, and it was because they fit the epic mould that the people found it so easy to buy into the message. Because the Romans loved Greek stuff, they were enticed by the structure of the Aeneid as much as they were by the message. Skip forward a few thousand years, and it could be that the workaday people of the social web would identify the list post as their comfortable structure of choice. They're quick, they're familiar, and they allow for easy skimming. Win, win, triple win.

Controversy is a great way to get readers to comment.
3. Ranked lists cause controversy.
When you rank a list post, you automatically double its effectiveness as a shareable piece of content. You could write a post chronicling your five favorite sci-fi movies, or you could rank your choices and title the post something like "THE TOP 5 SCI-FI MOVIES OF ALL TIME FOREVER SHUT UP." The latter decision will result in plenty of people ready to correct you with a comment. The same people will share your list, ranting about how wrong you are, and they'll get their friends in on all the engagement. You, meanwhile, will sit back and watch your hits explode. Controversy can be very, very good on the web.

2. Depth isn't great for a single blog post.
Some critics lambast list posts because of their shallow nature. "You can't really talk much about anything in enough detail if you try to cram so many different points into a single post," they complain. That's exactly right! To writers of web content, it's a losing battle to try to share something completely revolutionary in just 500-800 words. Try writing for an engineering blog and teaching trained professionals how to use Auto CAD or something like that, and you're just opening yourself up to ridicule. List posts can help writers keep their content broad enough to have mass appeal, but interesting enough to keep even your more informed parties engaged.

1. You are reading this right now.
Speaking of keeping readers engaged, list posts are like irresistible content honey to hungry reader bears. They're addictive and they tap into that very deep, completionist part of our brain that wants to learn as much it can and see things through to their end. Even if you didn't get much from this post, you're still reading it, and I'd be willing to bet that the biggest reason you are can be found in the numbers 5-1 above. Ranked lists encourage readers to keep going, to see if their thoughts or choices might be found on a list. The fact that you are still here reading, even if you completely disagree with me, proves my point quite well.

Now is the part of the post where I invite you to add your thoughts in the comments below. Do you agree that list posts are effective? Do you disagree? Would you add to my list, or take away from it, or maybe switch the order up? Have at it. Those sorts of comments are what make list posts just so darned great.

About the Author
Ryan Brock (@ryanbrock)

Ryan Brock is the founder and CEO of Metonymy Media, a group of creative writers and literary geeks turned pro. Ryan spends his days writing and editing for companies of all sizes, and is also the co-author of Nothing New: An Irreverent History of Storytelling and Social Media. He hates the taste of black licorice.