Why Twitter is useless for political engangement

I have said this many times with regards to politicians and Twitter.

It is pointless. There is nothing that I have seen to improve that belief, and plenty more that confirms for me that politicians are generally wasting their time with Twitter.

In Australia, in the middle of the election campaign there is growing evidence about how easily obsessives and trolls can dominate Twitter debates:

THE Twitter conversation around Australian politics is so skewed that 1 per cent of users produce two-thirds of the conversation, research reveals.

A mapping study of the Australian Twittersphere by the Queensland University of Technology’s Institute for Creative Innovation revealed that a small group dominated political discussion that used the hashtag #auspol, the main political Twitter forum in Australia. 

“What you have is a small group of highly active participants,” said project leader Axel Bruns…. “Basically you have this very small ‘in’ group of people who talk about politics all the time—I mean, literally, there was one person in that group who sent 30,000 tweets over that period, which is massive.”

The user who single-handedly sent 3.5 per cent of the #auspol tweets over the eight months was not a journalist. “It was just someone who is presumably a politics nut,” he said, explaining that the QUT ethics prevented him from identifying the individual.

If that is true of Australia it is even more true for New Zealand. As I have said I have blogged on this before and I see no reason yet to change my opinion that Twitter is essentially useless for politicians and any “guru” who suggests that Twitter is great for engagement needs a good slap up the back of the head.


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  • Twitter is highly valuable, but not in the sense that the participants think it is. Shhhhh.

    • Travis Poulson

      Amen to that.

  • johnbronkhorst

    At a tangent…I believe twitter is the biggest threat to person privacy…..and we do it to ourselves!! Well, yourself, as I refuse to go on twitter!!!

    • Steve R

      Dont forget facebook . The shit folks put on those two social sites , Then they complain about govt spying . hahahaha

  • cows4me

    Why do they add the ter on the end, the first four letters say it all.

  • Jman

    I never use twitter and I don’t feel I’m missing out at all. All those #hashtags does my head in.

  • DLNZ

    Judith Collins would be the exception. Her tweets a lot of which are very clever and entertaining sure do bring a smile to my day :)

  • Mr_V4

    “It was just someone who is presumably a politics nut,”
    Also goes by the name dpf and is bad at parking.