As I lay home in bed today due to a stomach virus (I never thought I’d say it but I just wish I could be at work! I love my job!) I have read several article about the president’s Twitter Town Hall yesterday (like this one from Mashable). It seems reviews are mixed – some think it’s a good idea, while others don’t think it was effective.
This brought one question to my mind: Do social media and politics go together?
There are several ways to use social media in this sector, some of which are effective, some of which are not. In the Town Hall yesterday, those with questions were encouraged to submit questions. Over 70,000 questions were submitted. How likely was it that your question would be asked? Not very likely. However, it was slightly different than the type of Town Hall meetings Americans are used to – but in a good way? Does social media really have a place in every sector? I don’t think the use of Twitter was really a way to make these meetings seem more accessible to the American people.
If you look at social media use in other areas of politics, i.e. by members of Congress, it has a more useful purpose. People can feel that they can connect with their representative on a more personal level than calling their offices. It also provides a new channel of two-way communication.
In my opinion, the Twitter Town Hall was not the most effective use of social media. While there ARE effective uses of social media in politics, this was not one of them.