|Campaign2008 The candidates have increased a presence on Twitter. number of followers right now: @ClintonNews 131, @ObamaNews 1,168, @McCainNews 255|
I didn't find this to be earth-shattering news; just a mildly interesting observation. The campaigns are trying to push news out via Twitter, and Senator Obama seems to be building a significantly larger following than the other candidates. The campaigns have been using Twitter for some time now, but the new thing seems to be pushing all their RSS feeds through a "news" tweet.
Shortly after this I saw a pair of interesting replies from BL Ochman, aka @whatsnext on Twitter:
|whatsnext @Campaign2008 wrong. that's not participation. participation is by humans telling what they think.|
quickly followed by:
|whatsnext @campaign2008 - candidate's news bots is Twitter abuse. please get a clue.|
Twitter abuse? So I tried to clarify:
|Campaign2008 @whatsnext as you know there's a difference between "presence" and "participation." They're using Twitter as a modified RSS feed, no more..|
And I heard back:
|whatsnext @Campaign2008 candidates are using twitter like MSM push media. they should be interacting her. we can get RSS feeds off their websites.|
Well, yes and no.
Of course the best-case scenario is there's a person on the other end of of the internet, engaging in conversations - just like what we're doing with @Campaign2008 and Virtual Vantage Points at APCO. But you also have to consider what you can accomplish with the resources you have, and you have to work within an appropriate context. So I asked:
|Campaign2008 @whatsnext does someone who follows a candidate on twitter have a reasonable expectation of a conversation? can candidates interact here?|
I'm also not sure (though opinions will differ) that pushing out news through Twitter constitutes "abuse." I follow a few news networks through Twitter, even though I'm aware of their RSS feed. The simple truth is people get their information from a variety of sources, almost all in the background. When you're running a campaign, your primary job is to put your messaging in front of people, wherever they are. Some people get their information through Twitter, so you have to put your messaging there.
I also know that campaigns are obsessed with resource ROI right now. Senator Clinton, for example, has relatively limited resources to communicate with people. Someone on her staff could spend time fielding questions from the 131 people (no doubt spread out across the country if not the planet) following @ClintonNews - or that person could be canvassing neighborhoods in Philadelphia or assembling GOTV operations in Harrisburg right now. What's the smarter investment given the finite resource? I think you push out info wherever people are, and do the best you can.
Yes, the ideal scenario is complete interaction, complete immersion in conversation. And when it comes to working with bloggers (and others) on marketing assigments, I try to insist on this. But even though the political campaigns have reached out specifically (and with mixed results) to political bloggers, I've yet to find the political campaign that fits that ideal scenario of complete interaction with everyone.
Of course, raising a boatload of cash from the online channel comes pretty close.