Politicians running for office will always flood the airwaves with 30 second ads. As many as they can afford and the TV and radio stations have time to sell them. I don’t think anyone much believes them, we just have to endure them.
Forgetting the First Amendment for the moment, what if political campaigns were banned from running adds on TV, radio and cable channels. How would they persuade us to vote for them?
Twitter. And a website/blog. That’s all they could use.
The idea came to me last night when I saw the following tweet:
Honestly, I’m not sure who John Burnett is, other than a Missouri legislator from Kansas City. I started following him because he was among the first legislators to use Twitter. And he’s good at it.
As for the tweet above… I don’t who Rep. Frame is or the first thing about SB 243 or whether it is, in fact, anti-consumer. My point is Twitter makes it hard to spin, bullshit, obfuscate and maybe even lie. I’m convinced that Rep. Burnett really believes the bill is anti-consumer.
When limited to 140 characters, it’s harder to NOT be open and authentic. And if you do stretch the truth, you can bet one of your followers will point it out.
So here’s my plan for some future campaign:
You can set up your website/blog and your Twitter feed whenever you want. The earlier the better. But you have to feed the beasts and you better be good at it ’cause they’re all you have (plus YouTube and Facebook and other online components). All pull, no push.
What about complicated issues and policy positions? That’s what the web/blog are for. Twitter is can point us there.
What about “ghost twitterers?”
I don’t think that would be a problem because I think we’d know in about 15 minutes if someone else was writing your stuff. Keep in mind, I’m not talking about eliminating debates and news interviews. Just the 30 second ads.
I’d apply this to PAC ads, too. If you support clubbing baby seals, set up a website and a Twitter feed. But no more TV and radio spots.
This seemed like just one more smays.com fantasy when I started writing it but I think it could happen. I doubt anyone would/could ban 30 seconds spots, but if viewership continues to drop and the web becomes the best way to tell your story, politicians will move in this direction. Kicking and screaming.
PS: On a not-quite-related note, what’s it worth to Amazon when a United States Senator tells here 23,000 followers how much she loves here Kindle?