Leaving the Gate Open

In an election year – every tweet counts!

I’ve often sprouted the virtues of twitter as a journalist but as a voter it is a bit more dubious.

Today, you would struggle to find any politician, state or federal, which does not have a twitter account, facebook page and blog. It is part of every press secretary’s handbook. Set it up and bypass the mainstream

Politicians have now jumped on the social media wagon and they aren’t getting off.

As MediaWatch put it, it is how they get around the ‘gatekeepers’. Ever since politicians and the media got in to bed together, pollies have been trying to find a way out. Now they have it.

Social media and self-publishing means they can talk directly to the electorate about what they want, when they want and how they want. It works, just look at Kevin Rudd and Malcolm Turnbull’s popularity.

They are very savvy at how they use the online space and audiences respond to it.

While mainstream media have all but dumbed down our news, audiences have shown they are actually interested in what politicians are saying and/or selling. And when the mainstream media are not giving them what they need why shouldn’t they go straight to the horse’s mouth?

The MediaWatch piece shows a great example of this when the media ignored a government health announcement, choosing to focus on polls instead. I for one as a voter care little for polls, I care more for policy and the scrutiny of it.

So I am glad politicians are on social media. I can read for myself what they are doing and make my own decisions on whether that is good enough for my family and me.

What I get frustrated at is the lack of conversation. Social media is that, social. It is a two-way conversation and when politicians fail to do that, they risk being out of touch.

Besides I love nothing more than calling a politician’s spin in a space where thousands can see it.

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