Interviews on social media and politics

Sharply increasing Twitter follower numbers and stronger engagement of student voters: In recent interviews with the New York Daily News and USA Today College I was asked about the impact of social media in political campaigns.

The New York Daily News analyzed the sharply increased Twitter following of New York mayoral candidate Christine Quinn. The following is an excerpt from the story:

Marcus Messner, a journalism professor at Virginia-Commonwealth University, said a German political party once claimed its Twitter account was attacked after its follower list surged and was accused of buying followers.

The case was never resolved, he said. Strange as it may seem, people buy followers to look cool, said Messner. “This is the metrics by which people are judged,” he said. “For a person in the public eye, you’ve got to have ten thousands followers.”

Please also read the complete story on the website of the New York Daily News.

The story in USA Today College examined the impact of social media engagement of politicians on college student voters. The following is an excerpt from that story:

Being interactive is important, said Marcus Messner, an assistant professor in social media at Virginia Commonwealth University. “It is essential if you want to reach a younger audience,” he said. “It is just the way younger people are used to communicating.”

Messner also stressed the importance of adding a personal flare to accounts. “Generally, what you get with politicians are prepackaged statements,” he said. “But when Twitter and Facebook accounts look like that, they are not engaging the community. Politicians have to show a human side for students to connect with them.”

Please read the complete story on the website of USA Today College.

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