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obamaI’ve heard that if you keep a birdfeeder in the fall, you need to keep it stocked through the winter, else the birds that have come to rely on your feed will die. It reminds me of one of my favourite quotes, from St. Exupéry’s Le Petit Prince: “Tu deviens responsable pour toujours de ce que tu as apprivoisé.” Translation: We are forever responsible for what we have tamed.

There is perhaps a lesson here for Barack Obama who used Twitter – a popular social media tool – throughout the recent election campaign to communicate with more than 120,000 followers, but quietly exited the conversation after his historic victory. Valleywag accuses Obama of having “pumped and dumped” his supporters – Twittering them into donating time and money, then dropping them for a more “presidential” means of communication.

His last message came Nov. 4 at 2:34 p.m.:

We just made history. All of this happened because you gave your time, talent and passion. All of this happened because of you. Thanks

Then radio silence.

Like the president-elect, many brands and organizations turn to social media for one-off campaigns, but the best results come when the commitment is long-term. Barack Obama will need those followers again – perhaps much sooner than four years from now when he returns to the polls. He’s not past the engagement phase; he’s only begun.