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Monday, November 09, 2009

The significance of Twitter

Fascinating post from Rob Fenwick drawing on the impact of Twitter in scuppering #Trafigura to assess how it might play a significant role in the next General Election:

Millions discussed Trafigura on Twitter. By the time Trafigura hired someone who understood social media, just three days later on October 16th, their staid YouTube response was only able to garner a few hundred views. Many simply weren’t interested in the story any more, and those who were interested weren’t inclined to help the company out by passing on the existence of the video. They’d burned millions of bridges with millions of people, simply by being slow to react.

Every party, and every candidate, has to decide now whether they’re going to understand and engage with social media, or fear it. It’s a nightmare for political parties to get their heads around – social media has no respect for constituency or regional boundaries, no understanding of the need for parties with complex structures to navigate their internal democratic processes before they pronounce, and in particular, no mercy for those who cannot respond somehow, in some way, immediately.

If the parties haven’t understood it already, they need to now. The General Election of 2010 is already the Internet election – the power of one foolish remark by a tired key figure, amplified by Twitter, could cause your national campaign to implode if you aren’t ready. There is no choice whether or not to engage online, the playing field has been swapped from under the feet of the political parties while their attention was focused on the Lobby.
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