Tweets (Even Negative Ones) Help Politicians Get Elected

A new study suggests the more politicians are mentioned on Twitter, the more likely they are to get elected–even if the tweets are negative.

Tweets (Even Negative Ones) Help Politicians Get Elected

As Oscar Wilde once put it, “the only thing worse than being talked about is not being talked about.” It turns out this line also applies to politicians seeking Twitter buzz. A new paper from an Indiana University team suggests that election results can be predicted by how often a politician is mentioned on Twitter and Facebook–and it doesn’t matter if the mentions are positive or negative.

Fabio Rojas, a co-author of the study, said “we call this the ‘all publicity is good publicity’ finding. Even if you don’t like somebody, you would only talk about them if they’re important.” In an op-ed for the Washington Post, Rojas added “we believe that Twitter and other social media reflect the underlying trend in a political race that goes beyond a district’s fundamental geographic and demographic composition. If people must talk about you, even in negative ways, it is a signal that a candidate is on the verge of victory.”

And with that, there’s finally some good news for the embattled Anthony Weiner mayoral campaign.

In other Twitter-and-politics news, the web giant now has an official Washington lobbyist. William Carty, a former congressional staffer, will work on “issues related to patent reform, privacy, Internet freedom and net neutrality,” as his federal disclosure form puts it.

[Image: Wikimedia user Gage Skidmore]

About the author

Based in sunny Los Angeles, Neal Ungerleider covers science and technology for Fast Company. He also works as a consultant, writes books, and does other things.



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