Invisible Obama meme shows the value of fresh content

Invisible Obama is a Twitter account that references actor Clint Eastwood’s “high-concept” monologue directed at an empty chair last night at the GOP convention (President Obama was said to be sitting in the chair, thus “Invisible Obama”).  While it was not a high point in the career of Eastwood or of a political convention, the resulting press and content (most prevalently the Twitter account) show the opportunity for inbound marketers who generate topical content.

Who is Invisible Obama?

Nobody is revealing who Invisible Obama is, and it really doesn’t matter.  What matters is that in less than 24 hours the Invisible Obama account got 40,000 follows.  I’ve got 15,000, and I’ve spent a few years collecting.  So what gives?

Seize the moment

Sometimes you find yourself in the right place at the right time, and that’s what Invisible Obama did.  By seizing a topical cultural reference, the people behind Invisible Obama got the attention of 40,000 people for free.

Take my website as an example, my most popular articles for the last month accounted for 27% of total traffic for the month.  Two articles discussed fake Twitter followers (in light of Mitt Romney probably stacking his account),  one discussed the decision for Google to cut budget at Google Plus for the rest of the year and one dealt with Facebook’s decision to run ads in user’s news feeds without any affinity points to the company.  In other words, topical posts kept eyeballs on my site.

Invisible Obama will be irrelevant next week

Just like anything else, yesterday’s news is a footnote in today’s news cycle.  The problem with Invisible Obama is that he’ll be less relevant tomorrow than he is today.  That Twitter account is a one trick pony (unless the Democrats lampoon Invisible Obama at their convention – an act they probably don’t have the sense of humor to do).

It shows the value of fresh, relevant content produced on a regular basis. Developing content that is consistently topical to people is a perpetual task, and as my experience shows there are more misses than hits.

One “Invisible Obama” is good, but many are better.



The speech that started it all:


Jim Dougherty

Jim Dougherty

Writer and chief of miscellany at
I'm the guy that wrote the article you just read. Sorry for the typos.
  • Jack Durish

    “Invisible Obama?” Hats off. That was creative. But, was it productive? I have discovered using Triberr that 10 or 15 people with a few thousand followers each, have more clout than any one with tens of thousands of followers. I wrote a blog piece about it. I included a chart showing its impact on my website/weblog traffic No, I have no ownership interest in Triberr and am not being paid to promote it. Just passing on the info if anyone is interested.

    BTW, I think the problem with Clint’s speech is that it wasn’t a speech. Look at it again as a skit. It’s actually quite effective. Look at how his riled up the opposition. Do you suppose that was his purpose? If so, it makes his “performance” an Oscar winner.

    • Jim Dougherty

      Thanks, Jack! Appreciate you reading and commenting. I totally agree with you about Triberr as traffic to my site is quite dependent on the reach that it provides. That said, as I mention in the piece there is a qualitative difference in content (at least in my experience) where something is so relevant and topical that it goes viral. To your point, something like @invisibleobama will have no relevance or voice next week.

      As for the speech, I find anything happening at these conventions uninforming. From the perspective of the Republicans I have to imagine that the buzz around Eastwood’s skit overshadowing Romney’s speech is a problem. I don’t think the election hinges on one speech, but Clint dominated a news cycle that Romney probably felt entitled to. Cheers!

  • EHJ

    I don’t think it was successful at all in terms of what a convention is supposed to do. Too many people are talking about Eastwood and not Romney and Ryan and what they did at the convention. The Romney people are already walking away from Eastwood.