NEW ORLEANS (WVUE) - Social media is buzzing about a picture of Sen. Mary Landrieu taken at an LSU tailgate Saturday. The photo shows the state's senior senator helping a man do a keg stand.
The pictures made their way to CNN and are plastered all over social media. With a cheering crowd behind her, Landrieu is shown holding the spigot for the man.
Tulane Professor of Social Media Ashley Nelson says, "I think she knew what she was doing. Mary has been in the public eye her entire life."
Bystanders gathered around the senator are holding cameras, and some journalists claim to have witnessed the moment. It's one that UNO political scientist Ed Chervenak, Ph.D., doesn't think was all that spontaneous. "I think that most of their actions and moves are calculated because they know they're under the media microscope."
Landrieu was at LSU's campus campaigning Saturday before the team's big game against Mississippi State. "She needs young voters to turn out because that's her base. Those are the Obama voters who turn out at presidential elections but don't necessarily turn out at off-year elections," Chervenak explained.
Landrieu is in a neck-and-neck race with Congressman Bill Cassidy. She's vying for her fourth team in office.
Nelson says with the ever increasing presence of social media in our lives, the picture of Landrieu was seen by millions almost immediately. "Especially when this photograph went viral on Twitter, I mean that's exactly what Twitter is used for, it's to show things are happening right in time, and then people make comments on it and then they forward it to their friends and it just continues and it grows and it gets bigger and bigger," explained Nelson.
Despite so much desire for what's happening right now, Nelson says there is a flip side, especially if the Landrieu camp banked on the publicity bringing in votes. "There is a very short time span that these things are actually recalled in the public," said Nelson.
For now, Chervenak says it's generating talk, whether positive or negative - talk that's keeping Landrieu's name in the news six weeks before the election.
According to the website, rollcall.com Landrieu addressed critics of the photo at an event in Baton Rouge Monday saying, "They need to get a sense of humor and they need to get a life - it's just the way we roll."
A source close to the campaign says the man Landrieu helped with the keg stand is in his late 20s and was at the tailgate with family and friends.