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Friday, November 25, 2011

The First Twitter Election

Brendan Sasso writes at The Hill:
In 2012, the Web phenomenon most likely to change the political dynamic is Twitter, the social networking site that creates a real-time loop of communication among its users.

Patrick Hynes, a communications consultant who worked for John McCain’s 2008 presidential campaign and Tim Pawlenty’s Political Action Committee in 2011, said Twitter can be an effective tool for pushing stories onto the media’s radar.

“If they tweet the story, you’re nearly guaranteed to get a couple hundred re-tweets,” Hynes said. Once a story goes viral on Twitter, he said, it becomes impossible for mainstream media outlets to ignore it.

While the potential for a story to explode on Twitter can be a powerful tool for campaigns, it also creates new challenges.

“Traditionally, before Twitter, stories ran in the morning. You had time to get to reporters,” said Jason Miner, director of public affairs for the Glover Park Group and a former research director for the Democratic National Committee. “Now that conversation takes place in real-time, in a matter of minutes. That piece of news is out there without full context.”


Miner emphasized that campaigns should not treat Twitter as separate from the rest of their communication strategy.

“It’s only as effective as your core messaging and core strategy.”

Hynes said participating in the constant conversation of Twitter has become a necessity for campaigns.

“Any campaign that’s not doing that at some level is not going to succeed,” he said.