A #PRStudChat community discussion: PR, Twitter & Politics

It was great being a guest and participating in this timely & topical TweetChat. This PR Student Chat is hosted by Deirdre Breakenridge and Valerie Merahn Simon. This all flows out of the October 11th discussion.

There’s little doubt the 2016 Presidential election campaign, and Twitter have come together like the amplifier connecting with the guitar. It’s an electrified stage. But, it’s place politically extends well beyond what’s unfolding in the United States. I’ve also had the chance to watch a Canadian election play out on the platform. Watching the Brexit tweet stream was significant too. Everyday with Mentionmapp I get a first hand view of Twitter’s global reach.

Because I can’t vote, and what I think about either party or candidate doesn’t matter, most of my bias is checked at the door. I’m interested in this conversation from a perspective of the communication platform and what’s being communicated on it. Channeling my inner Marshall McLuhan, it’s about us considering his notion — “the medium is the message” — and asking, how is Twitter changing or impacting the message?

Rather than subscribing to the “just wing it theory” for the #PRStudChat, I did some preparation. After looking at the research notes, it seemed like a decent idea to share them.

Mapping Twitter Topic Networks: From Polarized Crowds to Community Clusters (FEBRUARY 20, 2014)

Structurally, here’s how we can map & think about conversations on Twitter. “They create networks with identifiable contours as people reply to and mention one another in their tweets. These conversational structures differ, depending on the subject and the people driving the conversation. Six structures are regularly observed: divided, unified, fragmented, clustered, and inward and outward hub and spoke structures.” We can think about the six structures as distinct “audiences.” This is a communication and a conversation network, so how do we “crack it”?

“Like topographic maps of mountain ranges, network maps can also illustrate the points on the landscape that have the highest elevation. Some people occupy locations in networks that are analogous to positions of strategic importance on the physical landscape. Network measures of “centrality” can identify key people in influential locations in the discussion network, highlighting the people leading the conversation. The content these people create is often the most popular and widely repeated in these networks, reflecting the significant role these people play in social media discussions.”


“Most key elections have a key medium (radio for the silver-tongued F.D.R., (TV for the dashing Kennedy). Whoever wins the frantic, news-bite-addled contest of 2016 will owe that success partly to the small blue bird.”

“Twitter, like most social-media services, is an instrument of selective scope; the “sphere” you follow isn’t comprehensive of the globe but of a narrow range of users you find interesting.”

“According to NBC’s tweeted analysis, Trump, by somewhat mysterious metrics, generated sixty-two per cent of the “Twitter conversation,” while Clinton generated thirty-eight. On Twitter, though, it isn’t clear that more mentions translate into more success”

One of millions, but a .gif that seems to be an embodiment of the internet — https://twitter.com/rabihalameddine/status/780616963584176129

Political Newcomers: Here’s How Twitter Can Boost Your Campaign

Inside Trump’s ‘cyborg’ Twitter army

Twitter beats national polls for election predictions, prof claims

Think the Press Is Partisan? It Was Much Worse for Our Founding Fathers

Why would anyone spend money on Twitter?

There’s more to PR, politics, and Twitter. The Presidential Campaign is like a black hole sucking all of the attention out of the “mediaverse,” which leaves me curious about looking into Congressional and Senatorial campaigns… that’ll be another day. Looking past election campaigns, it’s also worth considering how Twitter as a communication platform operates and influences all levels of our body politic.

Beyond national politicians like @POTUS or Canada’s Justin Trudeau, there’s Twitter Accounts for Government Departments, Offices, Agencies —



Or, like this for the government of Ireland —


This story always stands out: The Spanish Town That Runs on Twitter

“Jun (pronounced hoon), whose population barely tops 3,500, into one of the most active users of Twitter anywhere in the world.

For the town’s residents, more than half of whom have Twitter accounts, their main way to communicate with local government officials is now the social network. Need to see the local doctor? Send a quick Twitter message to book an appointment. See something suspicious? Let Jun’s policeman know with a tweet.”

I’m still true to my analog bookworm roots, and pick up books everyday. Long live the paper cut!

Thought I share a 6 pack of reading for communication professionals

  1. The Persuaders: The hidden industry that wants to change your mind (James Garvey)
  2. Made to Stick (Chip Heath and Dan Heath)
  3. The Filter Bubble: How the New Personalized Web Is Changing What We Read and How We Think (Eli Pariser)
  4. Rhetoric (Aristotle)
  5. Language As Symbolic Action: Essays on Life, Literature, and Method (Kenneth Burke)
  6. Infinite Jest (David Foster Wallace)

Lastly, it’s Mentionmapp use cases like these that keep us doing what we do-

The Campaign Workshops Best Political and Advocacy Campaign Tools. include us, and highlight it’s values by having the ability to“map connections between Twitter users and visualize what they’re saying.”

This First Draft News article shows how critical verification is today. Josh Stearns talks about how “MentionMapp allows you to see who the person is talking to and what they’re talking about, so it maps conversations and people,”

Be like Deirdre Breakenridge, PeaceTech Labs, the BC Innovation Council, become a paying Mentionmapp member today; “Discover smart people & smart talk.”