Tag Archives: rachel gibson

Do Tweets win seats? – Micro-blogging and politics

Politicos use Twitter to communicate with voters, activists and the media. It’s sociable and fashionable. It’s useful but it has its limits.

And if this was Twitter I’d stop there, for the paragraph above is a 140-character summary of the popular micro-blogging service and its emerging role in politics. Having the luxury of a whole chapter, rather than a couple of lines, I can expound a bit. But sometimes I relish Twitter’s brevity and the way it gives me both the discipline and the excuse not to write at length.

Twitter was to the 2010 General Election what blogging had been to the previous one: novel, topical, conversational, personal. Blogging, in long and short form, is good for quickly spreading campaign messages, news and rumours and it’s freely accessible for anyone with an internet connection.

When I first subscribed to the service a couple of years ago, few news outlets or political candidates were tweeting, although the three main parties were already using it to link to party information and election results.

Over the past year, Twitter has been increasingly taken up by MPs and councillors, bloggers and journalists, even government departments, but crucially by thousands of people who are none of the above, but want to converse with them on an equal footing.

The parties continue to tweet, but now candidates, MPs and party leaders themselves are using the medium, with varying degrees of skill.

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