Sunday, March 8, 2009

No Obama

This is less a lesson on how to use Twitter for political campaigns and more one on what happens when anyone thinks they can. Let me preface this by saying I've been a long supporter of Representative Neil Abercrombie and so this is in no way a critique of him.

I found Neil's Twitter account a few months ago and started following him. At first he was tweeting just like everyone else, with updates on what he's been doing, bills he was supporting and his campaign for governor of Hawaii.

Then I started to notice his tweets almost seemed to be generated by a bot. The tweets were being fed from Utterli and kept saying the same thing except it had a slightly different link URL.

So I @neilabercombie'd him to find out what was going on. I got a tweet back from @ikitajima explaining that each tweet was indeed different and had I clicked on the link I would have heard a different message from Neil on Utterli.

Here are my issues with that answer and why I don't think it serves Neil or his campaign well:
  1. Inpersonal. By using the same exact "Aloha Everyone! It's me, Neil, reporting in." over and over, it feels like an afterthought or not worthy of the little extra effort it would take to customize each tweet. It feels very automated and cold. Not what you want to convey if you're running for a public office.

    Why not try to convey a little of Neil's personality? He should've talked about how he loved seeing "The Boss" Bruce Springsteen at the inaugural concert because he loves his music.

    Even if it's not him really tweeting all the time, you can provide some transparency by noting who is tweeting on his behalf at the end of each tweet. Even Britney Spears knows how to do that.

  2. Nonintuitive. Looking at each tweet, it looks like the same one over and over again. Almost like a mistake.

    Why not summarize what the link is about so people can decide if they want to click on the link or not? Are you expecting that the mystery of what may lie beyond the link will entice people to click on the link? You're not selling ad impressions. Better yet, get your message out in 140 characters, just like Obama did.

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