On Twitter, Nansen Malin is the most followed non-celebrity in the world – her following @nansen is just over 440 thousand people. Which probably makes her a celebrity in her own right. Living on a beach on the Pacific coast of Washington state, she says,
My social media following has given me involvement at a national level. I have a large online footprint and work with members of Congress, national campaigns, non-profits, think tanks, and consultants to push out conservative messaging. I get tips to be the first to break news.
Nansen attributes her success to her authentic style and being an early adapter to twitter, joining in April 2008. Her use of twitter to live-tweet the presidential debates led to her being named one of the original “Top Conservatives on Twitter,” known in Twitter jargon as #TCOT. In January 2010, the CBS television network asked her to live-tweet President Obama’s State of the Union address, solidifying her status as a social media powerhouse. The government once enlisted her to tweet about an earthquake in Hawaii because her feed was one of the most read sources of information quickly available.
Off the web, she serves as the Americans for Prosperity Washington State director. Locally, she is a Republican precinct committee officer, she serves on the board of directors for the oldest salmon hatchery in Washington state, and she serves on the Community Action Program Board of Directors. She is also a serial entrepreneur and currently co-owns a data processing company with her husband.
A Conversion to Conservatism.
Originally from Oregon, she first became politically involved in high school. Coming from a traditionally democratic community, it was only natural for her to seek out her local democratic party office, where she volunteered for many years.
My involvement in liberal politics had a role in my being chosen to study Saul Alinsky methods. I was chosen to attend the Saul Alinsky Institute at age 18. It was a huge honor to be chosen. One of just a few and the youngest!
The main lesson that she learned from this experience was that creating discord in a community effects change. For many years, through college and her early career, she was a dedicated student of Alinsky’s and an ardent supporter of democratic candidates.
Her worldview began to change, however, after she became a business owner. She says that a mentor of hers during this period of her life helped her realize that “as a business owner, you can’t vote for democrats and stay in business… My business experience proves that conservative values result in freedom and prosperity.” She goes on to say,
I have always known that true economic freedom would test my abilities. The DNA of America is in the blood of entrepreneurs. We are what makes America great. We employ people, buy and sell goods/services and even support government services from the taxes we (and our employees) pay.
In “full disclosure,” Nansen believes that there is room for everyone in the free market to be an entrepreneur.
I think everyone should be a business owner. You can’t find a job? Go bake pies, wash windows, make something. Sell it for profit and hire your friends. Everyone can figure out something of value they can produce or do… for money.
It is a lot of work! Being self-employed and taking on the responsibility of a payroll is one of the hardest things you can do. It is also the most rewarding thing. Many sleepless nights and a lot of responsibility. But it is totally worth it!
What Drives Her to be Successful.
Nansen is no doubt successful on Twitter because of her passion for social media. To her, social media is a way to “pass the torch” to younger people because it “transcends generations.”
Twitter is the kindling to push messages out, drive traffic and expose as many people as possible to true conservative ideas. Twitter is a fire hose of information.
I believe twitter should be genuine and have organic personalized responses. I use the list feature, hashtags and follow key people who have good content. I also welcome tips. I am under pressure to keep good content so I love it when people ask me to tweet out something that relates to the conservative message.
She also has plenty of practical advice for people looking to cultivate a twitter personality.
Relax, be real. Talk about your life, food, take photos, use links. Develop rapport by being approachable. Don’t pontificate or lecture. Ask questions. Have a conversation. Don’t swear either. I have had the honor of tweeting for some of the large news media… they wouldn’t have picked me if I embarrassed them with swear words. Call me old fashioned… use some manners.
She also recommends using less than the allotted 140 characters to allow for retweets and mentions. If you are looking to learn more, she recommends learning “from the best people in the industry” to “get a jump start on your peers.” She personally learned a lot from the Americans for Prosperity RightOnline conferences. If you are interested in attending the upcoming RightOnline conference on June 15&16 in Las Vegas, more information can be found here.
A Final Piece of Advice From Nansen.
For students and recent graduates who are just starting out, Nansen advises, “follow your passion.”
Don’t be afraid to take something to get in the door, pay the bills, but work on your passion. Burn the midnight oil and become self-sufficient. Ask questions, talk to people. Everyone loves to help an eager hardworking person… young or old.
To learn more about Nansen, make sure to follow her Twitter page, if you don’t already. Also, check out her fun blog about beach living – what she does when she isn’t changing the world of public policy.
Jacqueline Otto is a commentator and writer. Her work has been published in Fox News, Investor’s Business Daily, The Daily Caller, Townhall, The Austin-American Statesman, and the American Spectator. She is regular columnist for the American Enterprise Institute’s Project on Values and Capitalism and America’s Future Foundation’s Free the Future blog. She is also a new media consultant working with the Institute for Faith, Work, and Economics. Jacqueline is on Twitter at@jacque_otto.
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