The impact of Twitter on all aspects of the political communication landscape is a trending topic. Twitter, which was barely present a few years ago, has become an important means for breaking news on political updates, as they happen. Although politician Websites are commonplace, a growing number of members of parliament are turning to Twitter and the number is growing. A 2010 study examining tweeting patterns by politicians at federal, state, and local government levels in 2009 drew on a sample of 152 Twitter accounts (Grant, Moon, & Busby Grant, 2010) and this number has only grown.
This growing adoption of Twitter has increased the number of interactions and conversations between public citizens and politicians, by putting allowing them to converse in 140 characters or less, in a single space, from anywhere in the world. While politicians have been communicating with politicians via Internet‐mediated platforms for many years, it was typically only down with those with higher levels of funding and time. It was also done in soloistic
and private means. Nowadays, Twitter allows politicians to take their conversation with someone and make it publicly visible, by anyone reading their tweets on Twitter. However, a downfall is that many politicians are now only broadcasting messages at their followers, rather than engaging with other users. Similarly, many politicians (particularly high‐profile figures) are not certainly the authors of their tweets and their audience is catching on. It is recommended that political candidates use interactive communication styles (e.g., reacting on comments and posting tweets) and personalized communication styles (e.g., commenting on certain follower’s messages) when communicating via twitter. In fact, it could be argued that a focus on politicians, instead of parties, is different from the personalization that is present on Twitter.
When Tweeting, it is important to be careful about the messages you send. While you will want to seem personal and share your emotions and day to day, you also want to make sue you’re commenting about politics. A downfall would be voters who notice particular candidates that talk more about personalized issues and less about political issues and may, in turn, see those candidates as less competent for the political sphere. Yet again, you do want to be sure you are responding to the public as we argue that interactivity provokes a greater social presence, which subsequently primes to greater intention to vote for that particular candidate.
Undoubtedly, Twitter, which is the world’s largest microblogging service and third largest social network site behind Facebook and YouTube has the potential to be a robust force in enhancing to political discourse.