Kate Kaye’s picked up on a story that bombarded the e.politics bunker with at least half a dozen Google Alerts this morning: Twitter has decided not to allow political campaigns to purchase “Promoted Tweets” through the end of this political cycle, which effectively cuts campaigns off from the microblogging site’s foray into ad-supported content. The logic makes sense — Promoted Tweets are a new feature and essentially still experimental, so only a relative handful of trial clients are using them — but campaigns are nonetheless feeling a little disappointed.
One fascinating reason why shows up in the middle of the article:
Still, as media outlets and social media researchers keep a close watch on candidates’ Twitter followings, campaigns have a growing need to attract as many followers as possible. Frenchman, for instance, was looking into Promoted Tweets as a possible way to build his client’s Twitter following. A large follower base is considered by some observers to indicate strong support or momentum, and it helps propel fundraising efforts as well.
Interesting that a major reason to boost a Twitter following ISN’T to actually communicate with voters, but to build at least the appearance of popular support. In that sense, a solid Twitter following is like a favorable internal poll released to the press, or like having big money in the bank — it’s a way to show The Powers That Be (funders, bloggers, journalists, party committees, large donors) that a campaign is worth supporting. Ultimately, is that more important than the campaign’s actual messaging on Twitter?