Am I the only one that finds twitter an inappropriate platform to announce all things politics? Today’s cabinet shuffle in the Harper government came complete with it’s own hash tag and instagram video, with Harper looking awkward and uncomfortable; the exact same way I was feeling.
Maybe I’m the only person who feels this way, but even as an 18 year old who’s reliant on twitter and everything social media, I believe there are better ways to announce such things. Perhaps with more pomp and circumstance. I should not be able to picture PM Harper in one of my favored tweeting positions, curled up on my bed in sweats with a box of Ritz crackers between my knees or sitting in front of my laptop with tabs open for tumblr, Facebook, twitter and 9gag.
Don’t get me wrong; I fully understand the allure of twitter and tweeting for politics and news. In fact, as a journalism student that how I get most of my news. But for making announcements such as this, I find it to be a little less fitting. Yes, it offers certain accessibility and offers the younger crowd a front-row seat for government actions. But unless that younger crowd has already demonstrated its desire for involvement by following @pmharper –and just to see his infamous picture with his pet chinchilla doesn’t count- they don’t benefit.
There is something very informal about christening this cabinet shuffle with its own distinct hash tag “#shuffle13”. Personally, I feel that a press conference would be more fitting. Something that isn’t interjected with tweets concerning the heat or last nights season two of Aaron Sorkin’s ‘The Newsroom’. For the number of individuals being shuffled, including 8 new faces and four “new strong, capable women”, it lacks a formality that I can only imagine is meaningful to those being mentioned.
Perhaps there is some justification for this social media use. Maybe it’s working better than I think it is. But it still feels wrong. In a world where camps are being developed for adults struggling to go even 3 days without technology, and the futuristic views of Pixar’s Wall-E are looking more probable than out of the question, should we not be encouraging a divide between politics and social media? Would this have occurred had we still been in the ages of MySpace, or on Facebook where duck-faces and games like ‘Mob Wars’ reign supreme? No. To that end, I do not believe it belongs on twitter and instagram. Not only because its informal, or because it falls upon the deaf ears of social-media literate Canadian youth. It just looks bad. It’s no surprise that those of the older generations are not as literate in social media as youth. The tech-savvy generation that grows up with the technology is automatically more effective at using it than the older generations. It makes the PM look poor, because –for no fault of his own, but by sheer adaptation- 13 year olds are showing him up. The Internet is dominated by youth, and twitter is not different. Top twitter feeds include celebrities like Justin Bieber and the boys of One Direction, the comedy group Funny or Die, Starbucks Coffee and a feed called ‘What the F*** Facts’, is there really room for significant political announcements? Even Barack Obama, with over 34 million followers, doesn’t attempt to make the same announcements via his twitter feed. And in a medium where Grumpy cats and fake Michael Bay’s reign supreme, I don’t think he should even try to.
Using twitter for such political announcements crossed the fine line between utilization and misuse: particularly when we can hear some technologically literate helper counting down in the instagram video before Harper invites Canadians to follow his twitter feed for the 2013 cabinet shuffle. I know pre-teens who wouldn’t make that rookie mistake.