Saturday, February 28, 2009

Twitter and Nudge

I had a thought when putting a few additions into a lecture last week. The lecture was all about media effects in this modern age of message overload and media fragmentation and started with the rather jokey 'what do we know... Nothing' argument. However a thought evolved. It is said that nudge works, that is the simple and often immediate message that gets people to act in a certain way at that instant - the idea is that it is habit forming but it does not need to be. To me nudge could be applied to all manner of things from point of sale goodies (mmm Cadbury's Cream Eggs are in season again) to the classic example of the fly that is painted not only on the urinals of Schiphol Airport but also those on the campus of the University of Antwerp I noted (they help poor blokes such as me to hit said 'pot' in the optimum place to avoid unnecessary mess - not an admission of requiring a painted on fly of course but some apparently do). So that is nudge, fine, but that was clearly not the original thought. No, I was curious about whether there were any applications for electioneering? Well the closest thing is if you can capture floating voters who are signed up to Twitter and get alerts to their Blackberry. So here is the idea, will parties in the future be trying to discover which of their followers are loyal or not (could one indicator be if they follow more than one party or MP for example), would they then try to target tweets at those voters in a competition to be the last one to tweet before said voters enter the ballot box. So the question could this be a way that Twitter could be used as a Nudge tool to attempt to influence voting behaviour? Alternatively am I having a Lemsip fuelled moment of complete madness?


Matt Hurst said...

It could but I can see Twitter having such a small time line. I've looked into and mostly avoided it as I don't really see any point.

Maybe if I was employed or lived near mates it would seem a little more interesting but twittering about how I went to buy a Cibatta roll filled with chicken is hardly the most exciting information.

On the plus side it could benefit character creation, which I've been using chatrooms to create ideas and characters for short stories and so on. So maybe twitter is the way forward, however twitter may be less off the cuff than it seems.

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