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Twitter, Barack Obama, and #Compromise

I am sure you are aware of the recent debacle surrounding the U.S. debt crisis and the continuous debate between republicans and democrats. You may or may not know the ins and outs of what each side was proposing...but if not, it likely grabbed your attention in some way. What you may have missed if you aren't part of the tech world, is the role that Twitter played in the debate.

We Know Obama is Involved Online

From the beginning of the campaign for Obama to become president, you could tell that he would be somewhat of a game changer. Not only because of his ability to speak, but the new role that social media could play. He took advantage of social media and did it well. More recently however things may have taken a slight turn.

Has Obama Turned to Spamming?

To understand how this may be, you have to understand the basics Twitter. You can mention one person in particular by using an @ sign and their username. For example, if you wanted to mention me you could say @jcurcio, if you wanted to mention p80 you could say @protocol80 and so on. You can also use a topic in a tweet by using the hash tag (#) and the particular topic...in this case the hash tag was #Compromise.

To get some traction on the #compromise trend and help get the general public to contact the their state's GOP lawmakers the @BarackObama account decided to post the twitter handles of all of them. Their hopes being the Twitterverse would contact their lawmakers through Twitter pushing them to pass the "#compromise" debt ceiling solution.

Did it Backfire?

Obama's approach to getting users to contact the GOP party was seen as spam to many Twitter users. It is generally not acceptable to tweet 100 times in only 4 hours without anything to say. One of my favorite responses (as captured by @Mashable) is seen below:

Obama Twitter Spam

You can see more screen captures from Mashable here.

The Aftermath

There is no hard evidence that the Tweets from the general public helped urge lawmakers to approve the deal. My personal opinion is that it may have slightly helped the lawmakers aware of the concern of social media users, but a plan would have been in place either way. There is however hard evidence that many followers of @BarackObama were not extremely pleased with the "spam". According to Simply Measured the account lost 37k followers as of 7/29. Though he still as ~9,420,357 followers and a loss of 37k is only a drop in the bucket, it is the first time he has experienced a significant decline in 6 months.

I am interested to see how social media and politics play together for not only the next election, but as social media becomes more powerful and even more popular...yes, it's possible. What are your thoughts on the situation?