While Twitter is limited by its 140-character limit, it is still a powerful tool for getting messages out to the public. Followers are notified when there is a new blog post, for example, or when an image debate or political event is taking place. It has “targeted immediacy,” meaning that it can instantly reach the audience that it most wants to reach.
The aspect of Twitter that many politicians appreciate is that it allows them to be their own source material. In other words, rather than relying on the news departments to interpret what they say, politicians are able to directly speak their mind to the public. Naturally, though, the danger is that why might speak something off-the-cuff, which can turn out to be embarrassing.
With Twitter, politicians need to figure out which direction they are most interested in taking their campaigns. For example, it can be dangerous to be too personal in the “tweets” that are sent out, projecting an air that the campaign isn’t serious about the campaign. On the other hand, being too campaign-oriented can project an image of “stuffiness” that might not resonate with the public. It requires a delicate touch to walk that line, and it is often found through trial-and-error.
Politicians have discovered there is a new age dawning for them, and it is one that is truly democratic. They can get their message out to the public without filtering – but that can be a double-edged sword. On the one hand, Twitter allows politicians to be seen for who they are and what they stand for, but if the message they are sending out is not one that is well received, Twitter can also lead to a politician’s downfall.
In the end, the politicians who are making the best use of Twitter are those who have engaged professionals to help in the campaign. By working with people who are familiar with social media networking and the benefits and drawbacks, politicians have found they have another useful tool in their quest for political offices. For the most up to date information on social media usage follow us on Twitter.