Merriam-Webster’s Deft Social Media Strategy in the Age of Trump

David Mack, writing for BuzzFeed:

“A fact is a piece of information presented as having objective reality,” read a tweet from the staff at Merriam-Webster, linking to a dictionary article showing searches for the word “fact” had spiked after Conway’s interview. Simple yet full of shade, neutral yet undeniably pointed, it was the right tweet from the right account at just the right moment of public chaos.

“@KellyannePolls,” read one person’s reply that tagged Conway’s account, “when the dictionary is trolling you, you might want to reconsider everything in your life.”

That the tweet went viral was no coincidence. Its tone and timing were the product of more than a year of work by the Merriam-Webster staff in reimagining and overhauling their entire social media strategy — and, in doing so, their place in this new world of alternative facts.

Great example tweet from earlier today, replying to a question as to whether they ever take words out of the dictionary:

Yes — like snollygoster, “a shrewd and unprincipled person, especially an unprincipled politician.” Just added it back.

Worth noting: Merriam-Webster’s website has improved a thousandfold in recent years. It used to be a disaster, the sort of website put up by a dictionary that felt like they had to publish their dictionary on the web but didn’t want to. Now, it looks like a first-class peer to their print edition.

Tuesday, 7 February 2017