If YOU were the Prime Minister, would you respond to tweets?

There was an interesting piece on ABC’s Lateline on Tuesday, suggesting that politicians are only using social media to push their message at voters.

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.


About timimus

I'm a Media student at La Trobe University, Melbourne. Just that, and little more.
This entry was posted in FaceBook, Politics, Twitter. Bookmark the permalink.

5 Responses to If YOU were the Prime Minister, would you respond to tweets?

  1. Natasha says:

    I don’t have Facebook anymore, so I cannot argue whether the Greens are doing a good job or not. Personally however, it seems rather unprofessional that Politicians are using Twitter and Facebook to push forward their campaigns. I can see the logic beyond it, yet still it doesn’t impress me. Perhaps I am just oldschool in that sense. It also seems to be a waste of time, time that could be spent doing better things!

    • timimus says:

      Natasha, it seems to me that Facebook is perfect for politicking and campaigning. Pollies can post links to events, policy / campaign launches, policy documents, relevant online media et cetera, and have that content discussed as well.
      More importantly, their supporters & detractors can also initiate posts on the wall, or on the discussion page. Even if the pollie barely makes a contribution, it can be an excellent forum for others to share their point of view. The pollie doesn’t have to waste their own time – others can push the barrow for them.

      It’s a great – albeit very haphazard – way of taking the public’s pulse on a stance or an issue.

      For the punter, it’s also a great way to keep track of what the ‘other side’ is up to. If one is so inclined, one can even dissipate some pleasant hours in the ancient art of provocative debate on the pages of those one disagrees with. I believe that the modern nomenclature is ‘trolling’. 😉

      I thoroughly agree with you re twitter, but I reckon that FB’s a completely different proposition. FB and politics are a win/win combination.

  2. Natasha says:

    I now completely agree with you on FB point. I momentarily forgot that they are not the only ones controlling the dicussion (agrrrh been so long since I’ve participated in a Facebook related discussion I’ve forgotten what it’s all about!)
    I just read your comment on my blog 🙂 and I thought I would let you know I finally finished the post and it is much longer than I have priginally planned. I think it is more of a rant as opposed to a sensible and well thought out argument but I will let you decide and please let me know what you think.
    Also, has anyone else from out class started a blog and posting yet? Peter has posted anything (or not that I’ve seen) on LMS.
    Cheers 🙂

  3. Natasha says:

    Oh that’s a shame!
    Seems as though we (although I think you may be more) on the right track!

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