Julia Gillard embraces Twitter and engages

As I mentioned in my previous post, myself and the team at Edelman have been monitoring the use of Twitter by Australian politicians and their staffers at – Election.TweetLevel.com.au. On the whole it has been rather uneventful. The majority of the politicians are simply ignoring the platform and social media more broadly for that matter.

But all of this took a turn this week, when Prime Minister, Julia Gillard, started engaging. The initial impetus was the offer of a charity donation in exchange for a @reply by Karalee Evans and another staffer at digital agency Amnesia Razorfish. Check out the full story here.

Following this initial engagement, JG has been replying regularly to Tweets she is receiving, including a message to yours truly.

In response to this message:

MG Tweet Julia Gillard embraces Twitter and engages

Julia Gillard sent this response:

JG Tweet Julia Gillard embraces Twitter and engages

Obviously, social media will not be the only thing that wins or loses this election, but it will have an impact. So Julia engaging in my mind is a very good thing. Jim Macnamara commenting on this in a SBS News story tonight summed it up best:

No one thing will cause people to vote, not newspapers, not TV debates, not social media, but does social media have a role? Yes.

I couldn’t agree more with Jim. Social media does have a role to play. If most politicians continue to ignore it they are missing a trick. Follow this link to view the SBS story, which in addition to Jim, includes an interview with myself and Karalee Evans.

What do you think? Do you care if our politicians are engaging on Twitter? Do you think their time would be better spent on Facebook? Or should simply stick to traditional media?If you enjoyed this post why not subscribe to my blog via RSS or email by following this link. Also whilst you’re at it why not follow me on Twitter .