Member for Capricornia Kirsten Livermore is looking at social media.
Member for Capricornia Kirsten Livermore is looking at social media. Chris Ison

Pollies turn to voters' tweet spot

THE politician who first proved social media's effectiveness in winning a campaign is heading back to the polls in 47 days.

Barack Obama, the first black President of the United States and the first presidential candidate to win by using social media, started a trend that is expanding in Australia.

Even local politicians have either taken to social media, or are looking at which tools work best.

Recently, someone asked The Morning Bulletin via a Tweet to ask Capricornia Federal Member Kirsten Livermore when she would open a Twitter account.

"We are aware of the increased use of social media in political campaigning," a spokesman from her office said.

The spokesman said they were studying the Obama-Biden campaign to see what could be useful for Ms Livermore.

Flynn Federal MP Ken O'Dowd's office staff was considering Facebook, but Twitter was not on the horizon just yet.

Queensland University of Technology Professor Clive Bean, an expert in voting behaviours and elections, says social media was not widely used enough in rural regional areas for it to be much of an effective tool in political campaigns at the moment.

But Prof Bean said this was not necessarily the case in metropolitan areas.

"If their opponent is using social media and they are not, their opponent may gain a bit more ground," he said.

Prof Bean said another factor to consider when deciding whether or not to use social media was the voting population age.

"There are population differences in terms of who takes notice of Facebook and Twitter," he said.

"Young people are more likely to get their messages through those media."

Prof Bean said if local media outlets were using social media, candidates should also use them.

"Otherwise they are going to miss out on a lot of opportunities to get their messages out to the public.

"It's so much a matter of effective methods.

"To have an effective campaign, a candidate needs to use all methods available."


Former Queensland Premier Anna Bligh used social media regularly throughout the last campaign. She won her seat, but her party lost government.

Former Prime Minister Kevin Rudd is an avid social media user.

Rockhampton Mayor Margaret Strelow used social media during her mayoral campaign.

Tweets figures

Barack Obama - 19,892,434 Followers

Julia Gillard - 275,031 Followers

Tony Abbott - 78,554 followers

Kevin Rudd - 1,150,533 Followers

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