Politicians, Officials Will Find Twitter Friendlier Than Facebook

Do other people’s tweets show up on my page? That’s a common first question from officials contemplating Twitter.
And the ‘no’ answer is why, as social media use by politicians, officials and agencies goes increasingly mainstream, Twitter will beat out Facebook as platform of choice. This will hold true especially for official use, as public records concerns, takeover by critics, and complexity continue to plague Facebook adopters.
From the perspective of Gov 2.0 advocates, this may be a regressive trend, as it is easier on Twitter to dodge engagement. But the beauty of Twitter is control of one’s presence, without any overt need for filters. If you’ve got a wide open Facebook page and somebody wants to spam you all day long, you need a strategy to deal with that. Left alone, it’s going to muck up your page. But with Twitter, it’s easy to ignore hostile or spammy comments. And your active Twitter users have grown used to creating their own filtering systems. Your challenge on Twitter is to be noticed, not to dodge activity that ends up on your page. Full control of a Twitter stream also allows for pure broadcasting, and it remains to be seen whether that will be enough to please a majority of the public.

~ Adriel Hampton is a San Francisco public servant and host of the Gov 2.0 Radio podcast. Follow him on Twitter @adrielhampton.

Leave a Comment


Leave a Reply

Dave Hebert

The fact that Twitter presents itself as more “simple” than Facebook must also be appealing. If you just want to treat it like a mini press release service, go right ahead (though, as you say, that might not fly for long). Facebook at least suggests that you add a variety of content, widgets, etc., and at most (depending on the user and his/her staff and constituents), demands those things.

Andrew Krzmarzick

I was just checking out Gov. Perdue’s Facebook notes page last week. The governor’s office announced the release of (what they believe is) the first state government social media policy. Few, if any, of the comments were related to the policy itself…people just banging away on their favorite pet issues – “hostile and spammy” for sure!

But I originally found out about the policy via a tweet.

So they had a somewhat integrated approach…using Twitter to drive traffic to their Facebook page.

Now what if they had a moderated blog instead where they posted the social media policy and used both Facebook and Twitter to drive traffic to a place where they can monitor the comments and exclude those that are off-topic? People could still make their spammy, snarky comments on Facebook, but they could have greater control over the conversation on their blog.


Adriel Hampton

I think blogs with simple comment ranking and moderation plus Twitter are the ideal engagement strategy. This was interesting, though, esp. the comment from MassGov.