I’ve been fascinated lately by Twitter — its potential and its limitations in commerce, in politics, etc.
I don’t post this to advocate for T-SPLOST in the Atlanta region, but check out this tweet (embedded using a feature introduced months ago) from last night:
— Kasim Reed (@KasimReed) July 31, 2012
Mayor Kasim Reed has over 25,000 followers on Twitter, but he’s sent fewer than 800 tweets. Compare that to Newark Mayor Cory Booker, who has sent over 17,000 tweets and has 1.17 million followers. Reed’s tweet embedded here has been retweeted 66 times, giving it an even broader reach. But Booker routinely gets dozens of retweets even for simple inspirational messages.
I follow right at 1,300 people and organizations on Twitter, but I don’t read everything — not even close. I briefly skim the most recent activity a few times a day. I have over 900 followers, but some days I’ll tweet a link to a new post on my blog and will get not one single hit as a result. So I think it’s easy to overstate Twitter’s reach; even large numbers might translate into very little actual activity.
And is there anything about a message like this that would make someone actually get up and vote who wasn’t already planning to?
But at some point — clearly in Booker’s case and maybe in Reed’s — Twitter must have some real power. And it’s quick, direct, and free.
I’m sure some of you out there have studied this a lot more than I have. I’d be curious to hear a few thoughts.