Not content to host ads for mundane things like TV shows, cars and credit cards, Twitter has announced that they are targeting UK politicians.
According to Twitter, the platform’s new and more precise geo-targeting capabilities offer politicians a variety of ways to reach out to particular areas and individual constituent groups because politicians are now able to target by both region and postcode. They also state that Twitter is a great way to get lesser known politicians running for the first time some much needed name recognition.
Twitter points out that increasing numbers of people are using mobile devices as a source of information for voting, and 80% of people in the UK use a mobile app to access Twitter. If the UK is anything like the US, getting the young to vote is a Big Deal, so advertising on Twitter mobile could get new voters involved.
As beneficial as Twitter’s new geo-targeting system could be to politicians, I’m sure it hasn’t escaped the social media platform that politicians spend an incredible amount of money on campaigns, some of which could be flowing into Twitter’s coffers.
(Wo)Man of All The People
I realize that I only have a general idea of how politics works in the UK, but human nature and politics being what they are, this is an excellent opportunity for politicians to be able to fool all of the people all of the time. The reason is that constituencies tend to be localized, and crafting different messages depending on where someone lives makes it easier for politicians to talk out both sides of their mouth (read as: lie).
Most people live in areas based on their income, and differing levels of income have a tenancy to define people’s political concerns, if not always their party. For example, someone living in an affluent area and can afford a nanny is less likely to be concerned about the state of child care than someone who is living in a working class neighborhood. On the other hand, taxation of investments is probably not a key concern for the nanny class, so targeting the appropriate concern based on location will improve a politician’s ability to pull at someones heart strings or purse strings, as the case may be.
I suspect that this is just the beginning of social media platforms and search engines vying for politician’s advertising dollars through geo-targeting.