Politicians are on Twitter! (Well, sort of)
I really like politicians on Twitter. It’s a great method for politicians/elected officials to connect to their citizens, especially the younger generations. Whether they’re commenting on a disappointing vote or thanking supporters, it can be a great way for politicians to remind us that they’re real people!
Unless, of course, they don’t actually run their own Twitter accounts.
Something that actually has really disappointed me recently is the realization that President Obama is no longer on Twitter. Yes, his Twitter is still active (tweeted twice yesterday), yes, he still has 42.6 million followers. But they’re not really following President Obama. No, they’re following Organizing for Action (an organization that already has its own Twitter with only 293,000 followers #awks). They don’t really try to hide that it isn’t the president, clearly stating in “This account is run by Organizing for Action staff. Tweets from the President are signed –bo.” But the thing it, there are no longer any tweets signed –bo. I went back all the way to January, and there isn’t a single –bo tweet.
President Obama was one of the first politicians to have a really successful social media campaign to go along with the traditional campaign—and it worked marvelously. Our generation love the Internet, and loves people who know how to use it. More than going on Saturday Night Live, Obama’s twitter account helped millions of people feel connected to him, a part of their social network and their lives. But they weren’t really connecting with him at all. In 2009 Obama admitted that his staff had run his Twitter for years, but that he would start. Apparently that didn’t last.
I’m not saying that our President should spend all day posting Buzzfeed articles and Instagramming his meals, but it might be nice to actually hear from him once in a while.
But something really cool has come out of this. Even if it wasn’t really Obama, Obama’s staff has started the very cool trend of politicians on Twitter that has spread to Central and Eastern Europe! Estonian President Toomas Hendrik Ilves, Russian Prime minister and previous president Dimitrii Medvedev (who has an English and Russian account!), and Romanian president Traian Basescu are all active on twitter, with their own large crowd of followers. In countries where there has never been much transparency or communication between the government and the people, it’s really nice to see at least some semblance of real communication and maybe even connection between a politician and a people.