Sunday, 11 August 2013

Our present Prime Minister

(the recycled one) is on Twitter - and probably Facebook and whatever other social media sites are available to him. He's a big believer in social media is our Kevin Rudd. He has more than a million followers on Twitter. At last count it was 1,398,811. Wow!
He's a popular guy. Or is he?
The Leader of the Opposition is on Twitter too - and I suppose he is on Facebook as well. Apparently he's not mad keen about social media. He has a mere 180,726 followers.  Mmm. Not a good look. Or is it really that bad?
There have been comments in the media about the Prime Minister's use of social media. Remember? He posted that "selfie", the picture of himself with a shaving cut.  It was supposed to show him as human. It is the sort of thing that some teenagers do and perhaps it does engage with them. Not all teenagers are old enough to vote though so why did he do it? The simple answer is of course publicity. He saw a chance and took it.
Kevin Rudd is a master at that. He loves playing a role in front of the cameras. He will be relaxed in front of the cameras for the debate tonight.
His opponent will not be. He really does not care much for the media, particularly social media. He does not care much for the artificial nature of election debates and he is aware of the many ways in which they can be rigged. It will not go in his favour.
But, back to all those followers, or should it be apparent followers? How many of Mr Rudd's many followers are in fact people with dual, triple or even greater numbers of accounts? How many of them never send a "tweet"?
It is apparently easy to set up multiple accounts on Twitter and Facebook. I don't know how to do it but I am sure I could find out. If I then spent a day doing it I could probably increase the number of my "followers" very rapidly indeed.
But what good would it do? What's the point of having all those false followers? I have little doubt that many of the Prime Minister's "followers" send very few, if any, tweets. If approached they would undoubtedly say they just want to follow the Prime Minister.
I wonder what all that really means. It's not engaging in the social chatter and banter I have seen between other groups. It isn't even really informing people unless you intend to tell them where you are going to be or where to find a speech. The Leader of the Opposition tends to use his tweets for such things. He does not do a lot of tweeting and I suspect he does do most of it himself. The Prime Minister on the other hand almost certainly has someone do it for him most of the time.
Then there are the critical questions. Is tweeting going to win you the election? Of course not. Will it help? It might or it might not but analysts are apparently warning against expecting too much from it.
Twitter can be fun but using it as a campaign tool in the way the Prime Minister is endeavouring to do seems slick and insincere. I doubt it will work where he wants it to work.


Judy Edmonds said...

I suppose that all journalists seem to use Twitter these days and it probably is necessary for politicians to use it too. That seems to be the way the world is going. But I find Kevin's constant publicity-hungry attitude rather nauseating.

For the record, I'm not on Twitter. Or rather, I have an account that I have never used, as I find that Facebook and blogging keeps me in touch with lots of people and I don't feel that I have anything to add to the world's discourse by Tweeting as well. But I appreciate its usefulness in many ways, which is why I have not deleted my account - you never know, I may get excited about it one day!

Anonymous said...

I find it interesting that someone who is critical of the three word slogans of the opposition uses a form of media which allows such a limited number of words, especially as some of the words this particular someone uses would use up the 140 character limit rather quickly.