Everyone loves a photo booth, even (and maybe especially) elected officials. During this year's Texas Tribune Festival, we partnered with Twitter to introduce the social media company's latest gadget, the Twitter Mirror, to the world of politicians, and pundits too. Based on the results below, it was love at first tweet.
Think of the Twitter Mirror as a supercharged selfie machine. Used primarily at events like the Grammys and the NBA All-Star game, it's a free-standing, internet-connected photo booth. Brave subjects — whether George Clooney and Denzel Washington at the Oscars or Ted Cruz at TribFest — step up to the Mirror and, with the tap of a finger on its touchscreen, snap a self-portrait.
If they like the photo, the subjects use a finger to sign the pic or write a message. Because TribFest is on the University of Texas at Austin campus, several took the safe route and scribbled "Hook 'em." Journalist Dave Weigel, on the other hand, went out on a limb and predicted the outcome of the 2016 presidential election: Clinton/Castro 52%, Rubio/Pence 47%. Photo snapped and message scrawled, they hit "send" and released their selfie to the Twitterverse from the Texas Tribune account.
TribFest was the first time Twitter used the Mirror outside of major entertainment and sporting events. Always looking for new ways to connect our audience with the world of politics and policy, we were pleased to collaborate with Twitter's @gov team on the project. We invited every elected official speaking at the fest, plus some of our keynote pundits, to participate. The politicians, policymakers and journalists seemed to love it – one (guess which?) had to be pried away from the Mirror to make his panel on time. The Twitterverse ate it up too. In just 24 hours, our Mirror pic of George P. Bush and UT-Austin President Bill Powers became the Trib's fifth-most-popular tweet of all time.
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We hope to top that next year. For now, enjoy the full set of Mirror images from this year's Fest.