Social media went wild when this photo was tweeted from President Obama’s official Twitter account on election night.
It quickly became the most liked and re-tweeted picture in social media history. In an interview with Slate, one of Obama’s top social media strategists, Laura Olin, revealed why that photo was chosen and the pic that almost made the cut.
Olin, who was responsible for scheduling Obama’s victory tweets, explained that the photo was chosen within a 30-minute time span around 9pm (Chicago time) on election night. It was a toss up between the pic that was chosen and a photo of Obama and the First Lady after a rally in Des Moines, Iowa. However, after a further assessment, it was decided that the picture of Obama hugging Michelle back in August would be the golden pic.
“One of the members of my team, Jessi Langsen, remembered that one of our campaign photographers, Scout Tufankjian, had taken a great photo a few nights before, of the president and first lady hugging at the president’s final campaign rally in Des Moines. Teddy liked it but thought we should go with a photo where you could see the president’s face—in the Des Moines photo, her face was to the camera rather than his. It was also pretty dark, as it was a nighttime rally. I remembered that Scout had taken another great hug photo in Dubuque over the summer,” said the digital media strategist. “Later, I posted it to Twitter and Facebook as soon as Ohio was called for the president. I didn’t realize that we’d likely broken records until the next morning.”
Olin also said that the choice to use such a personal photo of the Obamas was conscious.
“Running our social media platforms, my team discovered and re-discovered that people generally responded the most to photos depicting the president at his most human, as a relatable person, not in the trappings of his office,” explained the social media expert. “And the emotions we wanted to convey that night, after a long and hard-fought campaign and a win that would mean so much to so many people, were joy and relief. It’s what we were all feeling ourselves, and what we imagined everyone who had voted for this president was feeling.”
To read the entire interview, head over to Slate.com.