Whatever happened to Chris Hughes, the Facebook cofounder who joined Barack Obama's fledgling campaign in 2007 and powered it to victory using social networking? He's joined a D.C. PR firm. How crushingly disappointing!
Hughes has kept a low profile since the election. He gave a speech in Washington, D.C. in January, and attended Google's inaugural ball. He only recently popped up again on Twitter. When asked if Hughes would be signing up with the Obama administration, White House spokesman Nick Shapiro was curiously coy. Even sources at Facebook expressed hope that Hughes, who served as the social network's first spokesman, might return.
The firm that has signed Hughes up as a strategic advisor, GMMB Communications, worked with the Obama operation during the campaign. It's a subsidiary of PR conglomerate Fleishman-Hillard. It will be a commute: GMMB has offices in D.C., Los Angeles, Seattle, and London — but not New York, where Hughes is currently living. (Brooklyn, the preferred borough of Internet hipsters, to be precise.)
It seems like a maddeningly prosaic gig for a 24-year-old who dropped out of Harvard to start a company which now counts 175 million users, and who then went on to lead an Internet campaign effort which many say got Obama his job. And perhaps it's not the end of the story: Hughes, in a text message, says GMMB is not "a full-time gig." "Other news on that in a week," he adds.
We do have an idea for one client he could sign up. Hughes is gay, and the same-sex-marriage movement, which suffered a disastrous defeat in California, could use an effective spokesman. How about it, Chris? You started Facebook. You got Obama elected. Get gay marriage legalized coast to coast, and you'll earn your place in history. Seems a lot better than being known as a flack.