Social media change the way people communicate and build interpersonal relationships. Today, you can use the likes of Facebook, Instagram, and other social networks to keep in touch with billions of users from all over the world.

It has become a new reality, while the whole concept is still evolving and influencing many other aspects of life and business.

But there is one trend here that seems to be more important than others – it is the impact Twitter makes on local and global politics. We get to witness Twitter campaigns, news, debates, and controversies every day as it is now a totally credible way of taking part in the political discourse.

But the question we need to answer is: How Twitter affects politics and the governing methods? Keep reading our post if you want to see the answers to this question!

The basics of Twitter and politics

Twitter is a popular micro-blogging platform with over 126 million daily active users. What makes the network different than other social channels is the character limit. The so-called tweets were restricted to 140 characters from 2006 to 2017, but the limit climbed up to 280 characters two years ago.

Unlike Instagram, Pinterest, and similar networks, Twitter actually attracts somewhat older audiences as 63% of its users are between 35 and 65 years old. There are many other stats that confirm the value of Twitter:

  • Almost 75% of Twitter users say they use the network to get their news
  • Twitter’s most prolific 10% of users in the US are likely to be women who tweet about politics
  • The most popular political figure on Twitter is Barack Obama with 110 million followers, followed by Donald Trump with 66 million fans
  • Only 6% of American adults account for 73% of tweets about national politics

Jake Gardner, a blogger, says the first example of Twitter being used as the source of information in global politics comes from the former US president Barack Obama. Back in 2007 – when he was still a Senator – Obama posted this tweet: “Thinking we’re only one signature away from ending the war in Iraq.”

The tweet came only one year after the platform’s official launch, thus marking the new trend in contemporary political communication. From 2007 on, Twitter hosted some of the most influential political campaigns and movements, including these:

  • Black Lives Matter, a movement founded with the purpose “to intervene in violence inflicted on Black communities by the state and vigilantes”
  • Jaz We Can, a new social media strategy created by the Labor Party and its president Jeremy Corbyn
  • The US President Donald Trump is not to be neglected here as he is one of the most agile Twitter users among politicians

These are only a few examples of Twitter-powered political campaigns, but it’s more than enough to grasp the idea of how the platform has become a quintessential tool in the field of politics and governing.

ALSO READ
7 reasons why social media management tools are indispensable for online businesses

9 ways Twitter is reshaping politics

The growing impact of Twitter on political affairs forces us to think about different ways the platform contributes to public discourse about local and global issues. We identified nine main features here, so let’s check them out:

  1. Direct communication with supporters and/or opponents

Politics has long been a one-way communication channel that party leaders used to disseminate messages without getting anything in return. Twitter completely changed the model as now every supporter and/or opponent can provide feedback almost instantly.

Politicians can’t neglect their voters anymore and need to pay attention to almost every Twitter user interested in their work. It’s a genuine game-changer that directly affects political communication as we know it.

  1. It’s a free promotion mechanism

Twitter helps politicians to address millions of users all over the world, which makes it a precious and free marketing tool. Party leaders get the chance to send messages directly to their voters without any barriers or control mechanisms. They don’t have to spend entire budgets on paid promotion, so it is now easy to bombard potential supporters with multiple messages on a daily basis.

  1. Customized Campaigns

Twitter (and every other social network) has a comprehensive analytics dashboard that anyone can use to research the audience and customize the content accordingly. This is particularly important for politicians who want to discover the needs, hopes, values, and expectations of the target audience.

They get to analyze fans based on age, gender, location, interests, marital status, education, income levels, personal beliefs, and many more. This gives parties more than enough data on how to approach target supporters and tailor messages so as to fit the needs of future voters.

  1. Fundraising campaigns

Twitter gives users another way to engage and support favorite politicians and campaigns. For instance, the so-called money bombs are short-term fundraising campaigns that political entities can launch to collect funds for their campaigns.

Such initiatives usually last 24 hours only, thus forcing Twitter fans to react and make donations very quickly. It’s a well-known marketing principle in which marketers use a sense of urgency to drive engagement. The same logic applies to politics just as successfully.

  1. Testing public opinion

Another way to use Twitter and gain political benefits is by conducting small opinion polls and surveys. That way, politicians can test public opinion and learn how their supporters react to highly specific subjects or new and controversial policies. It’s a great way to prevent further damage in case voters do not support a given plan or idea.

  1. Encouraging people to participate

Politics is a serious subject that requires a lot of thinking and strategic decision-making. In such circumstances, it’s not surprising to see so many young people unwilling to engage and vote. The vast majority of voters are middle-aged or older individuals who understand the relevance of elections.

However, Twitter helps political parties to build relationships with younger supporters and inspire them to go out and vote. It proves to be one of the best tactics to boost political participation worldwide.

  1. Viral content
ALSO READ
10 steps to becoming a social media influencer

Viral content is any piece of media that suddenly becomes an online sensation. Needless to say, it’s a genuine magnet for skilled politicians and their marketing teams because they can spread messages and boost online visibility extremely efficiently. There is a whole science behind political discourse on Twitter and how certain words or phrases affect the popularity of the content, so feel free to check it out for more information.

  1. Risks and controversies

Although Twitter is a promising playground for politicians, the platform can also backfire in case they don’t pay attention to their posts. According to the report, elected officials, candidates, and sometimes their staff members have been tweeting dumb, offensive, and embarrassing things, just to erase them soon afterward. It can have a damaging effect and ruin entire campaigns.

  1. Fake news

Of course, not everyone is taking Twitter seriously and spreading in-depth content on this network. On the contrary, there are lots of cases of the so-called fake news that make people confused and ready to change political opinions. The Onion is only one of the popular examples, but you can find many more fake news and satirical accounts on Twitter.

Twitter Bans Political Ads

There is one thing left to mention here and that is the latest decision – made by Twitter’s chief executive Jack Dorsey – to stop all political advertising on Twitter globally. According to Dorsey, the company believes that “political message reach should be earned, not bought.”

The platform has obviously become aware of its political influence, which is why they are trying to moderate paid content and reduce the influence of advertising on political attitudes and opinions. The decision to halt political advertising will be put into effect on November 22.

However, Twitter will allow a few exceptions to the new rule. First of all, political organizations will be able to promote voter turnout. Secondly, specific parties and organizations will be given the opportunity to promote relevant issues such as human rights, climate change warnings, abortion rights, and so on.

Conclusion

Social networks changed people and interpersonal communication in a way no one could even predict only a decade ago. However, the social media concept has many other effects because it influences everything from business to political affairs.

In this post, we analyzed how Twitter is making a huge impact on modern politics. You could learn the following:

  • The basics of Twitter and examples of political campaigns on this platform
  • 9 ways the network is reshaping politics
  • Why Twitter decided to ban political ads

The evolution of Twitter is not over and we can definitely expect new trends and features to emerge in the years to come, but this is the current position of the platform politics-wise. Is Twitter a good platform for political campaigns and discussions? Share your thoughts and ideas in comments!



>
Share This