Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Twitter as campaign tool

Is Twitter a service for those who feel their everyday lives may be interesting for others, or is it something that can be used to build networks. It is an interesting question, I joined up simply to see what others are doing and then finding my self searching for profound things to stick into the status bar, I then often ask myself why I did that. However i note that in PR circles there is much discussion of how it can be used as a relational tool. For me it depends if you have interesting links to share, or things to say, and an audience. Many of those tasks can be completed via Facebook, delicious, FriendFeed just as well so what is different about Twitter? To be honest I am not sold, though i note some exploring the potential. One example I Graham Watson MEP. He joined December 9th, Twitters infrequently so far but has now launched a campaign to be President of the European Parliament. He is currently following 910 with less than 200 of those following him. However, in his quest to have the "first ever public campaign for the presidency: in this I hope that I will set a precedent" he may need those he is following to covert to being followers. This allows him to have access to a network of advocates who will forward on his links. While inefficient it suggests a strategy of locating Twitter users with an interest in politics (hence the 910 figure) in the hope they will return the favour, watch his updates and follow links. Obama is using exactly the same tactic to try to have a day of community action to coincide with his inauguration - be it cleaning parks or great public works he wants things to signify a new dawn in America, Twitter is used to remind his supporters to get involved and promote the day. One wonders to what extent the parties will try to harness this during an election campaign?

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