Twitter is Turning Politics into a ‘Social Media Food Fight’

Political communications guru Mark Harris says Twitter is ruining politics.

Harris writes in Campaigns and Elections that Twitter is ruining American politics and young political operatives at the same time, because they are so obsessed with developing a strong social media presence that they aren't learning how to do the fundamentals of campaign communications.

Here’s some hard, foul tasting medicine: As all encompassing as Twitter seems in the Beltway Bubble, many voters, especially older voters who are your most reliable voting demographic, don’t use it. Some have no idea what Twitter is. And those who do are probably tweeting about the score of the latest baseball game, not the negative attack ad on TV.

 

Young operatives have come up in a world where everyone is on Twitter and everyone uses their Facebook accounts. In their world, much of public life is transacted online. The reality of life for most voters is far different. They’re reading news stories, in many cases online, but still a good portion in print.

 

They’re also listening to talk radio and watching live broadcast television. A good hit in any of these mediums is far more likely to move voters than a tweet.

 

Harris says it's not all bad. Twitter and other social media sites can be a useful tool for campaigns, but they need to figure out how to balance the new methods of communcation with the old.