Perhaps it really is time to admit that Twitter is a force to be reckoned with that is going nowhere but up. John and Jane Q. Public use Twitter, celebrities use Twitter, and politicians use Twitter – but here is the new twist. Politicians are now actively engaging each other in debate on Twitter. This may not be the smartest thing to do given that everything that is said is not only real time but on the record for everyone to see.
For political junkies, the advent of debates on Twitter is nothing less than pure gold. Limited to 140 characters, politicians are forced to provide succinct answers rather than the rambling incoherent word vomit associated to so many elected officials. Another aspect of the Twitter debates people enjoy is the fact that it is real time – and it is on the record. Anyone can say anything at any time and it will be recorded for posterity. So far no one has really dropped the ball and flat out fell on their face, but given time someone will and it will be there for all to see- and re-tweet over and over again.
Twitter may not have been developed for this type of exchange, but unlike any other social networking platform on the web it is capably handling the job. Facebook and similar platforms allow for long…extremely long and involved responses which are boring for followers, provide to much room for canned responses and answer avoidance and a lag time between questions and answers which could be interminably long. Twitter “cuts the BS” as one follower stated because anyone that cannot come up with a mere 140 character answer has to be questioned on how well they know their job and how bright they are.
Whether or not Twitter debates catch on and become a main event type of occurrence remains to be seen. The guess is that in the digital world, anyone that does not rise up and answer the questions posed to them via Twitter will lose face and potentially credibility and votes. Score one for Twitter and the digital age.