Friday, 3 April 2009

Should we expect responses from all Twitter messages?

Following some twitter banter this week i've decided to continue the political theme of last week's post. Don't worry, i'm not politicising my blog, I'm just interested by the usage of social media by politicians and political parties.

Last week's blog discussed the relevance of social media to politics; this week's reviews how a poorly thought through campaign can increase apathy amongst the target, or voting, audience. As with any social media presence, politicians need to understand the rules of engagement; if they want the kudos and benefits of our attention and affection, they need to take it seriously and give something back. In short, I think they have the following obligations:

  • Respond to comments and feedback
  • Maintain regular updates
  • Don't preach - give us opinion but let us think about it
  • Address negative PR
  • Entertain us!
I, like one man and his dog, follow Downing Street on Twitter. I guess I'm intrigued to see the Labout spin monster in motion but also the pure part of my heart longs for genuine engagement from a politician. This week I decided to post a reply to a tweet from Downing Street:

Granted, there was a certain cheekiness and provocation in this tweet but it was also playful and genuinely hoping for a response. I took the time to communicate with Downing Street so surely they would want to respond to create a positive impression? Wrong. 2 days later and still nothing.

In my view, if you accept me as a follower you should take me seriously and respond to my comments. If you had no intention of responding to all individuals, then at least make that clear in your bio or by putting a background to your twitter account with a short statement. When I use twitter I expect a response - everyone else i message achieves this.  That is what engagement is about. Twitter is not a marketing tool to push information at people - it is a conversation tool to interact and share content; without the interaction it is a PR stunt.

So tell me what you think - am I being unreasonable in expecting the Downing Street behemoth to respond to individual comments, however banal? Or should we demand better service from a public body that obviously wants the benefits of having a large follower base?

Please let me know your thoughts by posting comments to this blog.

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