Using Twitter For Participatory Politics

from the watch-this-space dept

While there are still some non-believers who continue to insist that there is nothing useful about Twitter, plenty of folks who have jumped in headfirst are finding new ways to make the service more useful every day. Here’s a recent example, from E-Media Tidbits, which reports that in the recent “state of the state” speech by Michigan Governor Jennifer Granholm, the governor’s staff first announced a hashtag to be used in Twitter (MiSOTS), and then had the Govenor’s staff adding the high points of the speech to Twitter as they came. But the more interesting part is that this created a real-time public participation and commentary on the speech as it was happening. Plenty of others used the official hashtag to respond to points and discuss what was going on in the speech in real-time, providing a fascinating play-by-play commentary of the address that would have been hard to do in any widespread manner previously (perhaps in a specialized chat room — but that would have a much smaller number of users). While it doesn’t appear that the governor or her staff responded in real-time, it also gave them a very useful look at how people were perceiving the address, and also gave them people they could quickly follow up with in the future. While I’m sure some Twitter doubters will still brush this off as nothing special, the ability to better communicate shouldn’t be ignored or underestimated.

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Comments on “Using Twitter For Participatory Politics”

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Jon Johnston (user link) says:

you're right

it’s nothing special. In fact, it probably worsens the problem.

Here’s the deal – people who communicate for a living probably love twitter because they don’t do anything else. A real-time reaction to a speech is something they can get allatwitter about, but what good does that really do anyone?

Will government officials (or anyone else for that matter) start making more decisions based upon the short-term, attention-deficit reactions to a speech or whatever message they’re delivering at the time? Sure seems like it – government policies seem to be driven by short-term needs than long term strategy and if that’s the case, further or expanded use of twitter in these situations will only exacerbate the problem.

I don’t think twitter is completely useless. It has value in some very specific uses. But it’s this year’s social media whiz-bang that PR people can sell and make some $$$ off of convincing everyone else they’re left behind if they don’t get on board.

Next year, PR people will have sold the idea to their clients, then move on to another “big thing” that they’ll convince everyone they must have.

Long term – twitter is a distraction. Not necessarily a fad, but not that big a deal either.

Mark Rosedale (profile) says:

Twitter is a great tool

I have been using Twitter for a while now and love it. I think its best use is for celebs to connect with fans. @coldpay is on it and the person giving updates will often let you know of the latest news or just what is going on. You also have funny celebs that use it to give 140 character funny notes. The potential is endless. On my end I don’t have fans to connect to, but I find common interests with other people so it becomes a conversation of sorts.

I really like the medium and see a lot of potential. Just the other day I tweeted about using twitter for more than just status updates

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