After leaving his post last year as Chairman of the Federal Reserve, Ben Bernanke joined the Brookings Institute and became a senior advisor to the hedge fund Citadel. He has also been blogging, something he was not able to do at the Fed.
As the June 15 issue of Fortune put it: “Newly christened econoblogger Ben Bernanke has been throwing some rhetorical punches on his Brookings Institution site,” including claims that Larry Summers pays insufficient attention to global affairs and criticism of Elizabeth Warren’s call for limits on the Fed’s emergency lending powers.
So far, he has followed the mission he laid out in his first blog post in late March: “To comment on economic and financial issues without my words being put under the microscope by Fed watchers.”
Blogging is an effective brand builder for anyone, but it is especially well suited to Mr. Bernanke at this stage of his public life. His blog provides him with a 24/7 opportunity to weigh in on economic issues and gives him a forum to comment freely without the danger of being misquoted. It provides the media with a steady stream of sound bites as well as relevant reasons to interview him. It is also a strong tool for building an audience for his memoir, The Courage to Act: A Memoir of a Crisis and its Aftermath, which is scheduled to come out in October.
Bernanke’s blogging frequency varies from three posts a week to one every couple of weeks. He tweets whenever a new blog is published (his tweet announcing the launch of his blog was retweeted 946 times). With 44,300 Twitter followers, he’s ahead of Larry Summers (who has 40,330) but behind Elizabeth Warren (who has 245,747).