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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As much at home writing editorials as being the subject of them, Cam has won awards, including the Canon Media Award for his work on the Len Brown/Bevan Chuang story.  And when he’s not creating the news, he tends to be in it, with protagonists using the courts, media and social media to deliver financial as well as death threats.

They say that news is something that someone, somewhere, wants kept quiet.   Cam Slater doesn’t do quiet, and as a result he is a polarising, controversial but highly effective journalist that takes no prisoners.

He is fearless in his pursuit of a story.

Love him or loathe him.  But you can’t ignore him.

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