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AEI Jumps on the Social Media Bandwagon

While I’ve been taking notes and learning from the social media ventures of many organizations around the District, there has been nothing but radio silence from that old Washington institution, the American Enterprise Institute.

I visited AEI’s Web site a while back, and found a dated platform with no obvious plans to engage in social media outreach.

Imagine my surprise today when I received an email that proclaimed, “AEIOnline is now following you on Twitter!”

Say what?

I checked it out, and sure enough, there was AEI tweeting away. Even AEI’s President, Arthur Brooks, is firing off tweets from his own account. He’s using hashtags and everything!

Surely if they’re on Twitter, there’s a Facebook page floating around here, I thought.

Yup, AEI is on there too, and they’ve done a pretty good job putting it together. Although, since it’s AEI, it did give me the same feeling I get when my parents’ 60-year-old church friends send me friend requests.

I called over to AEI to see if they had hired a new media guru to handle all these new developments. I asked the woman who answered the phone if I could talk to the person who was directing their Web 2.0 projects, and dropped a couple new media terms.

“I don’t know anything about this FaceTwitter thing, do you have the right number?” she asked.

I was transferred to their press department and got the full scoop from one of their media directors. While she had her doubts, she said they were giving it a shot. According to their Web site, AEI has plans to produce online videos, podcasts, RSS feeds and offer new individualized user accounts. Will they have a blog? We’ll just have to wait and see.

Will this Washington dinosaur evolve into a social media bird, tweeting, tagging, hyperlinking and blogging? That is yet to be known.

But at least they’re dipping a toe into the water.

You’re next, Brookings.

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