The argument is roughly that, for example, Gillard has oodles of followers and she tweets like a canary, but she never responds to tweets, and that Abbott doesn’t even do that.
The criticism (voiced by Jim McNamara) is
” It’s essentially a one-way conversation and that’s not what social media’s about and it’s not what the research is showing. Research is showing that people don’t want more information from politicians and government, they actually want more listening.
I’m not sure I’d want Gillard – or whichever staffer has the password to the account – wasting time replying to tweets or retweeting. It’s a decidedly non-Prime Ministerial activity, at least in the eyes of (and I’m guessing here) most of the electorate. Their time might be better spent responding to posts on the facebook page, though. There’s scope to cut and paste a faux-personalized message on facebook, and you’re not limited to 140 characters. There can then be a huge thread following the PM’s post, all aware that she’d posted. In my opinion, this could be a worthwhile strategy.
Some politicians DO use social media effectively. The Greens are doing an excellent job (BIAS ALERT – I’m a member of the Greens) using facebook to engage with and respond to followers. The Greens are well suited to web 2.0, IMHO – they have strong grassroots and an active membership compared to the 2 major parties, and don’t have the burden of actually having to govern.
It’s easy to bag politicians for squandering the possibilities made available by social media. I think that it’s a lot harder to devise a worthwhile and time-effective strategy that the PM or Leader of the Opposition can deploy without raising more questions than they’d answer.