Google+ and politics – Could hangouts replace Question Time and Party Political Broadcasts?

Following from the launch of Google+ pages, the search giant’s latest foray into social networking has gained another boost.

The President of the United States, Barack Obama has joined Google+.

Obama is on Google Plus

Actually, Obama’s presence is in fact a brand page run by his campaign team as appose to the President himself, but his arrival is no less prominent.

If the Obama election campaign of 2008 taught us anything, it was the power that social media marketing can have in an election campaign. Social media allows politicians to get in front of the demographics who wouldn’t necessarily watch the usual channels – question time, or party political broadcasts. We’re no doubt in a new age of communication, and politicians (much like brands) need to learn to adapt to reach their audience.

I thoroughly expect to see a great deal more social marketing from all UK parties in the next election. Each major party in the UK all have dedicated marketing teams, but neither David CameronNick Clegg or Ed Miliband are using social media marketing to its full potential.

Google+ and Politics

The most exciting potential for politicians to interact with constituents in my view is through hangouts – an ideal medium for politicians to show an unscripted, and thus seemingly more truthful conversation. Perhaps a hangout with Cameron and Clegg discussing solutions for the housing shortage, or other key topics?

Social marketing provides a platform for politicians to show a personal side to voters, and reach constituents directly. Whoever takes full advantage of this will be in good stead to win the next UK election.

Why voicing your political beliefs on twitter is worse than doing it at the dinner table

Something over the past few weeks has been bothering me, and since noticing what it was, it’s now really starting to get on my nerves.

It’s people tweeting political messages.

Growing up, I was taught there were two things you should not discuss at the dinner table. Religion, and Politics. Both are very similar, in the respect that people can feel very strongly about what they believe. The reason for it being such a social faux pas to discuss over the dinner table is not only that people feel uncomfortable with their beliefs being questioned, but also due to individuals’ strong feelings relating to their political or religious beliefs. That ‘discussion’ can very quickly turn into a heated argument, especially when people make short, flippant comments, without properly considering their point before they make it. This ultimately leads to an awkward vibe over the table, where everyone has lost their appetite, and would much rather just go home then sit and listen to any more of the crap coming out the persons mouth sitting opposite.

One of Twitter’s downsides (and in some ways, it’s the thing that makes Twitter so great) is that you only have 140 characters to get your message across. This forces the author of the tweet to be very blunt, and owing to the nature of tweeting, authors are often not properly considering whether their tweet may be offending some people, especially when it comes to something like politics.

140 characters allows you to voice your opinion on a subject, but leaves no room for explaining your argument, or why you feel that way. This is why I believe that politics and twitter do not go hand in hand. It’s like taking those awkward one liners that ruin the dinner party out of any context, putting them in a frame and hanging them up for all to see.

  • “Anyone who votes Tory is just a bad person or a mental person. There’s no other excuse really”
  • “Anyone who votes Labour needs a slap”
  • “Only a muppet who doesn’t understand politics would vote lib dem”

Tweets such as the ones above (all real, and taken from the general twitter stream) are directly attacking individuals and their voting beliefs, and quite frankly, there is not much difference in directly attacking religions either. There is no reason to directly oppose someone’s political beliefs in such an unfounded way, regardless of your own.

Coming up to an election, many of us are faced with the decision of who to vote for, and I like many have very considered and strong beliefs on who I think should be running this country. I’m not saying ban tweeting about politics altogether. Twitter is a fantastic medium for communication. However, there needs to be much greater consideration of the content of the tweet when discussing a subject people may feel very strongly about. 140 characters isn’t enough to get much of a logical argument across, but it is enough to offend.