Anthony DeRosa, social media lead at Reuters, as recently interviewed Adam Sharp, Twitter.com, on the use of Twitter on the campaign trail and how it has turned the 24-hours news cycle into a 140 character news cycle. Here are a few sound bites from the 3:00 minutes video:
Sharp observes that Twitter is now used to return to “retail politics” where the candidates have a direct connection to potential voters, personally introduce themselves and ask for votes.
A recent experiment with Fox News showed that Twitter can be used as an additional signal to measure public reaction to the presidential debates. The news station asked viewers to use the Twitter hashtags #dogdge in case the candidates did not answer the question, or #answer if they had the impression that the candidate answered the question they were asked. The campaign teams were able to watch in real time what the sentiments of their potential voters were toward their own candidate. It provides them with new insights that would have otherwise been massaged and edited as part of the 24-hours new cycle (going through the writing, editing, proofing, printing process) or campaign managers and press secretaries spinning of messages.
Here is the link to the video on YouTube:
Really cool idea for creating an instant feedback loop. I usually enjoy seeing how different news organizations incorporate these types of dynamic charts using real-time Twitter data, although more than a few attempts have induced some eye-rolling. However, you’d have to be careful to analyze this in conjunction with the demographics attending/watching an event. A partisan or supportive audience might think a speaker’s remarks are right on, while a bi-partisan or skeptical audience might have a totally different take on the matter. Can’t assume those participating in these types of interactions are representative of the audience whose opinion you really value without doing so.