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Texts From Hillary is a single topic blog featuring a series of vertical, multi-pane image macros based on a photograph of United States Secretary of State Hillary Clinton sitting aboard a military aircraft while wearing sunglasses and reading from her smartphone.
The image of the then U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton was taken by Reuters photographer Kevin Lamarque while she was awaiting departure aboard a military C-17 Globemaster III flight from Malta to Tripoli, Libya on October 18th, 2011. The photograph was subsequently featured on the news site on October 20th, 2011. Another photo taken from a different angle was posted online on October 27th, 2011 as a part of a TIME photo essay on White House photographer Diana Walker and her travel with the Secretary of State for a cover story that appeared in the November 7th, 2011 issue of the magazine.
The Tumblr blog Texts From Hillary was created by friends Adam Smith and Stacy Lambe who both work in public relations in Washington, D.C. On April 4th, 2012, the first image was posted to to the Tumblr, featuring Clinton’s photo paired with one of Obama texting (shown below). Within the first 48 hours of the post, the image received 9,094 notes.
Buzzfeed Politics was the first site to feature photos from the blog on April 5th, followed by same-day coverage on several news sites including the International Business Times, the Washington Post, the Huffington Post, and Yahoo! News as well as on web culture site Uproxx. That afternoon, Adam Smith tweeted a confirmation that he and Stacy Lambe were responsible for the blog. They also began a Twitter account for the blog, both to post links to the images and to collect press coverage.
Also on April 5th, Mashable published Smith’s comments on the blog’s creation, noting that they came up with the idea after a few drinks one night. The news media coverage continued throughout the week with articles published on MSNBC and Mediaite Meanwhile, other Tumblr users began posting their own images with the tag “Texts From Hillary” and a spin-off single topic blog called Texts from Hilary (sic) from Last Night was launched to curate various image macros in the vein of the 2009 viral blog Texts From Last Night. By April 6th, images from the Tumblr blog had been at least shared 46,100 times and liked 172,000 times on Facebook and by April 11th, they had been shared 83,000 times on Facebook and gained more than 45,000 followers on Tumblr.
Hillary Clinton’s Response
On the afternoon of April 9th, a member of Clinton’s staff contacted Lambe and Smith stating that the Secretary of State loved their blog and wanted to meet the creators. The three met up at the State Department Tuesday, April 10th, the same day in which a Clinton submitted post was published on the site. She gave Lambe and Smith autographed copies of the post she made as well. Shortly after their real life encounter on April 11th, Lambe and Smith announced the permanent closure of the blog, stating that “it’s time to stop while [they’re] ahead.”
Hillary Clinton Joins Twitter
On June 10th, 2013, the former Secretary of State joined Twitter under the handle @HillaryClinton with her first tweet giving a nod to the meme (shown below). Self-described as a “pantsuit aficionado” and a “hair icon,” Clinton’s profile also featured the now infamous photo of her wearing dark sunglasses and reading her Blackberry smartphone. In less than four hours of launch, Clinton’s account gained more than 110,000 followers, well reflecting her meme celebrity in social media.
Bill Clinton’s Spoof
On April 1st, 2014, former U.S. president Bill Clinton updated his Twitter profile avatar with a photoshopped spoof of his wife’s photograph, along with the tweet:
Twitter Profile Photo Change
On March 2nd, 2015, The New York Times reported that Hillary Clinton had exclusively used a personal email account for all official government communications as secretary of state without being preserved on State Department servers, potentially breaching requirements presented in the Federal Records Act. The article revealed that the email practices were uncovered by a House committee investigating Clinton’s correspondences during attacks on the American Consulate in Benghazi. On March 6th, Politico published an interview with Texts From Hilary co-creator Stacy Lambe, who said that the email controversy had destroyed “the illusion of Hillary texting.” Two days later, Clinton changed her profile photo from the picture of herself typing on her Blackberry to a promotional image for the women’s rights non-profit organization No Ceilings (shown below).
In the coming days, several news sites published articles about the Twitter profile picture change, including The Washington Post, Time,USA Today and The Daily Mail, with many speculating that it may have been a public relations effort to help mitigate the personal email controversy.
International Business Times – Hillary Clinton Goes Viral: ‘Texts From Hillary’ Meme Rides Wave Of Success
Washington Post – ‘Texts from Hillary’ blog depicts Clinton as phone addict
The Huffington Post – Hillary Clinton Thanks ‘Texts From Hillary’ Guys For The ‘LOLZ’
The New York Times – Hillary Clinton Used Personal Email Account at State Dept
Washington Post – Hillary Clinton changed her texts from hillary avatar