Politics and social networking

New Zealanders consider the internet to be a more important source of information than television, newspaper or radio and  frequently use the internet to find information and opinions that influence their attitudes and to post their own view (The World Internet Project).  Social networking sites are now a valid method of sharing information.  Twitter is one of a number of social networking sites.

New Zealand politicians and social media

Most of the major party leaders have a large number of followers, however only a small proportion of followers are actively participate – the figure of approximately 10%  is given (New Zealand Parliamentarians and Online social Media parliamentary Library Research paper 2011/01) http://www.worldcat.org/title/new-zealand-parliamentarians-and-online-social-media/oclc/705906043.   This paper also quotes the Rt Hon John Key as saying “While I can’t promise to read and reply to every comment that you make, your posts (on a range of websites including Facebook and YouTube) will be read by my staff and will contribute to our thinking”.

The Importance of Followers 

The purpose of twitter is to get your message heard.  Twitter is designed so that it is easy to send tweets to your followers. For this reason if it a good forum for politicians to let their followers know what they are up. The moment that Barack Obama sends out a tweet he is communicating with approximately 16.5 million people.

Attaching photos and urls enables the message to communicate more complex information than can be achieved in 140 characters (twitters limit).

However, an effective campaign is also about getting new votes influencing about and changing behaviour and attitudes – so reaching people who aren’t your followers needs to be part of the twitter communication strategy.

Getting your tweets noticed by people who aren’t your followers?

Who receives a tweet you send depends on the format you choose.  Say you want to send a tweet to @barackobama who has approximately 16.5 million – followers and follows 677,188 and doesn’t follow you – how can you increase you chances of him receiving your tweet.

@ replies

@mentions

RT 

# Hashtags

Starting a message ‘@’ with this directs the tweet to someone
If the person is a follower they will receive the message.  Only followers of both you and the person you are replying to will see the message .
If the recipient is not a follower – then twitter sends the tweet to the replies tab in twitter.
Example:- If you want to send Barack Obama a tweet like: @barackobama New Zealand is a great place for a holiday… twitter will send the tweet to his replies page – and it is unlikely he will see it.

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@ mention tweets are about someone and are seen by all your followers.   Twitter does not kept track @mentions – if those mentioned don’t follow you they will not receive the tweet.
For example:- it is unlikely that mentioning @barackobama in your tweet will never get to him – unless Barack follower someone who follows you and sends him the tweet.

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RT is an abbreviation for ReTweet, RT is the equivalent of forwarding an email. 
Note:- RT are only seen by your followers.  Aiming to have messages RT as in theory only the good messages are retweeted.  It also means that the tweets is amplified when spread to new audiences.
Again, if you are hoping to get a message to Barack then if he may take notice of it – if people he follows RT him your message.

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RT is an abbreviation for ReTweet, RT is the equivalent of forwarding an email. 
Note:- RT are only seen by your followers.  Aiming to have messages RT as in theory only the good messages are retweeted.  It also means that the tweets is amplified when spread to new audiences.
Again, if you are hoping to get a message to Barack then if he may take notice of it – if people he follows RT him your message.
GAP
# tags are used to enable to follow something rather than someone.  Hashtags are given to a word or group of works such as #teamkey