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Social Networks Government The Internet Politics

Twitter As a Campaigning Tool 92

labourstart writes "Meetup.com wasn't designed to help presidential candidates and Twitter wasn't supposed to be a campaigning tool. But LabourStart's Eric Lee argues that Twitter may be just what unions and other campaigning organizations have been looking for — a way to cut through the background noise and reach their members."
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Twitter As a Campaigning Tool

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  • A tool I can't use (Score:5, Informative)

    by stoolpigeon ( 454276 ) * <bittercode@gmail> on Monday June 23, 2008 @12:12PM (#23904667) Homepage Journal

    I've never used twitter. But I keep seeing so much about it - a comic at Penny Arcade [penny-arcade.com], articles [smh.com.au], political events [fiercevoip.com] and such. So I thought I'd check it out. Went over to sign up and was told that it was under heavy load and to come back later. (Twitter is over capacity. Too many tweets! Please wait a moment and try again.) I've tried a few times in the last week or two. Looks like that thing is suffocating under its own weight.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by edwebdev ( 1304531 )
      On the rosier side (for Twitter), overdemand means that the service is popular to the extent that its original hardware can't keep up. This problem can be solved simply by hardware improvements. Twitter would be far less usable and less valuable if nobody wanted to use it.
      • Do they make any money? If not - simple hardware improvements are not simple.

      • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

        by maxume ( 22995 )

        It isn't strictly linear. When Scoble blows his nose, there are 25,000 people that want to know about it. If he blows his nose and takes a wizz within a few minutes of each other, he generates thousands and thousands of messages in the same period of time that many thousands of users generate approximately 2 messages.

      • by Lennie ( 16154 )

        Actually it's an architectural problem and they said they are working on it.

      • I think that the servers are experiencing problems due to lack of design.

    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by Anonymous Coward

      You twitter and waste the hours in an offhand way. And then one day you find ten years have got behind you.

      • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

        by amliebsch ( 724858 )
        The sun is the same in a relative way, but you're older,

        Shorter of breath and one day closer to death.

        • So you run and you run to catch up with the Sun but Java's still closed.
          Racing around to recode that sound lib again!
      • But now you have ten years of tweets to remember them by. Hey remember that time Gabe pooped? Ah memories....
    • by jaguth ( 1067484 )
      Okay, poop is coming out... from presidential campaign
    • I agree.

      There is a reason why I ditched my cell phone - it was too annoying - and got rid of my pager.

      If you need me and you don't know my number, don't send my cryptic 200 char text messages and think that makes up for you missing brunch.

      Unless you're a cute girl.

    • Their main problem is their architecture is complete garbage. Get this: one main MySQL server and 2 slaves. That is it. They didn't really know what they were doing when they first designed it. The current system is pretty much the same as it was when it first rolled out. They are supposedly bringing in people that know what they are doing to scale it up but it's taking a long time.
  • Useful? (Score:4, Insightful)

    by dintech ( 998802 ) on Monday June 23, 2008 @12:12PM (#23904669)
    If it's to be a really great campaign tool, then surely it should be something that a large percentage of the population use. I don't think that's Twitter somehow.
    • When you get enough campaign commercials using the always hot topic of terrorism as a way to scare the population and encouraging the use of these twitter lists for terror level alert warnings; you will see an increase in users. I've never used twitter, myself, however I can imagine that if it is an easy sign up with minimum forms and messages sent directly to however you want them... it seems pretty user friendly which would be perfect for the technologically inept voters out there. Plus, those people wh
    • It depends, what demographic are you aiming at? Something like this would probably work well for the same crowd that uses the usual swath of social websites (Mostly twenty-somethings who are fairly tech savvy) that are used to communicating via email, text messaging, and IM. On the other hand this method would obviously not play well with, say, senior citizens. Of course, there is no reason to think that this method would be the end-all be-all of communication, but it might help to bring in specific demo

    • Re: (Score:2, Flamebait)

      by Yvanhoe ( 564877 )
      A large percentage of the population use a browser. Twitter only has to be used by people emitting informations.
    • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

      by Gewalt ( 1200451 )
      Useful? no. There is nothing useful about twitter. Twitter is for making fucking twits look and act like fucking twats. Yes, yes, troll, whatever. What can I say, people who twit look and act like twats.
    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by DigitAl56K ( 805623 )

      Twitter is great because you don't receive spam from people you don't follow. There is nothing more annoying right now than all the campaigners flooding the web with political spam. Spamming on Twitter ends up in people unfollowing you quickly, so I'd be interested to know how exactly it can act as a campaigning tool except to people who are already your supporters?

      • except to people who are already your supporters?
        if your supporters have friends... Email last week that went NRA->friend of mine->me That shock my faith in Obama (not enough to go McCain though.)
        He can't send one of them a week. But a couple a year is all that's needed. More targeted also, since many positions piss off half the people, it may be possible to target based on a profile, and avoid sending too many facts. (not good for the public, but...)
    • I recently put together a workflow for allowing users to create an Obama commercial using their own voice: http://www.earfl.com/obama [earfl.com]. You use a phone as the upload tool and then email the finished product to your friends. I think hearing a friend's voice and their reasons for supporting a candidate can be much more convincing than seeing a twitter feed of talking points from "campaign central". Try it out, No login or registration required! (disclaimer: I wrote parts of earfl.com)
    • Especially true since the majority of people on twitter are dumbass twelve-year-olds*. *I have no idea if this is true. "Dumbass twelve-year-olds" is simply a catch-all category for people who are either a) too young to vote or b) not going to vote anyway because they're too busy on twitter.
  • The big joke is... (Score:5, Informative)

    by tjstork ( 137384 ) <todd...bandrowsky@@@gmail...com> on Monday June 23, 2008 @12:13PM (#23904687) Homepage Journal

    That, these guys are basically sending out junk mail too. They want to send out more messages like - "Oh give us money, and we will save you".. just like everyone else on the planet.

    I swear, we could make a bunch of ELIZA - like bots that would replace 99% of the political activity web sites for all political persuasions...

    • Yeah- I got emails from my party (I'm not really into politics - but I guess that is accurate) and it gets old really fast. I just got off the mailing list because it was so obvious what they were doing. Maybe I just haven't bought into the propaganda enough to look forward to that kind of stuff, but for me it was just more advertising though slightly more targeted than some of the other spam I get.

      • I made the mistake of giving money to a Senatorial candidate once a couple of cycles back. After that for YEARS I got tons of snail mail from his party and other affiliated groups asking for money. The funny thing is I am a registered Independent, and most of the mails were form letters assuming I was a party member.

        I finally wrote the committee and told them that I would not give another dime to another candidate if I got any more mail. It actually worked. I still won't give anymore though; it left a b

    • Abso-freaking-lutely. Has anyone checked Rush's pulse lately? How sure are we that he didn't die of heart disease and was replaced by an automatronic Eliza bot?
  • by Gothmolly ( 148874 ) on Monday June 23, 2008 @12:14PM (#23904695)

    So if I understand this right, its a sort of forum where people with similar ideas can communicate and contribute?

  • Finally! (Score:5, Funny)

    by edwebdev ( 1304531 ) on Monday June 23, 2008 @12:14PM (#23904697)
    I'm getting so tired of having to read detailed documents that describe a candidate's position on complex and important issues. A distillation of once-meaningful information into painless and catchy sound bites is just what the doctor ordered.
  • Are the candidates going to raise a little army of outspoken make-pretend supporters??

    ...oh wait, wrong twitter.

  • say, a bunch of birds holding a large whale with nothing but string...

    http://www.maniactive.com/states/2008/06/top-2-reasons-to-love-technical.html [maniactive.com]

  • by Anonymous Coward
    Am I the only one who thought the headline was accusing our good friend twitter [slashdot.org] of being a tool who is campaigning?
  • seems to be down to much to use for much of anything

  • ...get rid of all relevant, important information, use talking points and soundbites and nothing but image and slogans to campaign. People will fall for it, and vote based on that, whilst being distracted from everything important.

    I'll call it "politics".
    • by halivar ( 535827 )

      This is the 30-second news-bite generation. Could you see yourself reading volumes of material on the scale of the Federalist Papers (and opposing argumentative papers) just to decide who you want to be president?

      I'm rather ashamed to admit I probably could not.

      • Nah, but I'm thinking something in between the scales of those two situations. I'm tired of everyone my age voting based on a soundbite, and I'm tired of bickering. I want someone to just read a goddamn article once in a while, you know?
  • Now we have one more campaigning tool in the race.
  • Personally, I had heard of twitter on and off in various places but had never really gotten into it. I now find myself regularly visiting the phoenix lander twitter page for short, informative and sometimes funny commentary. They`ve used twitter to reach out to an audience that might not of otherwise kept up with such an interesting project. I`ve found mny of the questions addressed on the page to be things I often wondered about myself regarding such projects (what OS does it run, how is the communicat
  • Almost every web interfaces has been corrupted by paid or non-paid advertisments. Even Facebook sucks now. Spit is just around the corner.
    • by gorckat ( 960852 )
      Our acronyms might soon be among those things you can't say on tv...OMG! There's spit in my twit!
  • From TFA (Score:3, Insightful)

    by dwayner79 ( 880742 ) on Monday June 23, 2008 @12:54PM (#23905313)
    The Hillary Clinton campaign began sending out 'tweets' and eventually had over 4,000 followers. The Barack Obama campaign did the same thing and got 44,000 followers. That says something about the success of the two campaigns in using new technology.

    Perhaps that says something about the age of the people supporting either campaign. How many 40yo stay at home moms are getting tweets?
  • Twit-Cast? (Score:3, Funny)

    by camperdave ( 969942 ) on Monday June 23, 2008 @01:01PM (#23905461) Journal
    I would think that candidates would want distance themselves from anything that makes them look like twits. If they were to make some statement on twitter that caused a stir, then suddenly it's "Did you see the latest twit-cast?". Jon Stewart, Colbert, Leno, et al, would have a field day.
  • Excuse me, but is Twitter not raw, undiluted background noise itself?

  • by heroine ( 1220 ) on Monday June 23, 2008 @01:29PM (#23905855) Homepage

    Digg is the ultimate campaigning tool. No. Boingboing is the ultimate campaigning tool. No. Damn day traders.

  • I clicked on this article because I read "twitter as a camping tool" and I thought to myself - how odd that someone worked out a way to use twitter with an FPS (HalfLife, Quake?) to "camp".

    You have no idea how disappointing it was to see a reference to "campaigning" once I started to read the post....

  • At one time the net was about free exchange of information. Now it's been preempted by a bunch of slime ball politicians.
  • ... has been the one that's been going on over the last few weeks on Twitter between "Fake John McCain [twitter.com]" and "Fake Barack Obama [twitter.com]". Mostly because the fake versions of the candidates are free to swear and say what they REALLY think, unlike the real ones.
  • Wow, that's a /. sig plus less than half a punched card. Most /. posts would end early to mid-rant. You'd never know if they had a valid contributi
  • I never thought of labeling him as a campaigning tool.

    (laugh... it's supposed to be a bad joke)

  • I can see long substantial economic position papers being written on twitter in much the same way as I can see great poetry ..........

    dang, too long

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