Twitter Observation: Politician vs. Entertainer

For any readers outside of my class, this week’s PR assignment was to follow the Twitter accounts of a politician and an entertainer, and compare their feeds.

To be perfectly honest, I don’t follow politics. I know I should, but I haven’t yet gotten into the habit. Therefore my choice of politician is based on basic knowledge I know and a little bit of randomness rather than keen interest and activism. So who is the lucky politician? Cue the drumroll… it’s Lt. Governor of California, Gavin Newsom! And as a juxtaposition, I’ve chosen late night host and comedian, Conan O’Brien.

I’ve mainly focused on the tweets that have been made available in the past week, although I’ve also glossed over older tweets to get a better picture of what kind of topics they tweet about and what their twitter persona is like.

Newsom tweets about what event (conferences, benefits) he is currently at to promote change and awareness in California. As of late, the majority of his tweets are about education and college tuition fees. For instance, he mentions the UC Regents meeting and expresses how frustrated he is that there are no alternatives to prevent a tuition increase if Prop 30 fails to pass:

He also retweets statistics and other people that are covering the meeting, doing a kind of mini live-coverage of the Regents meeting. In addition, he tweets about his campaign against bullying in San Francisco schools and promotes College Track, an afterschool program that works to increase high school graduation, college eligibility and enrollment, and college graduation rates. All his tweets, including retweets, reflects how important education is to him and emphasizes his wish that something needs to be done immediately.

Observing Newsom’s twitter feed as a whole, it appears he doesn’t reply to any tweets. I wonder why this is. Aside from the fact that he is a busy man, I assume it has to do with media control. That is, to prevent any misunderstanding he may have with a fellow follower, causing a political uproar. Regardless, I’m surprised how often he tweets. It’s not a lot, but it is more than one a day, and you can tell it’s really him who tweets and not someone working for him. Overall, his twitter serves to  send a message of awareness, keep people informed about policies in education, and to express a few opinions. Though there were a few tweets about Joseph Gordon-Levitt, The Dark Night Rises, and Looper, which I found to be outliers.

In contrast, Conan only posts one tweet every single day, with the occasional two related tweets to finish his thought. His tweets are basically witty one-liners or short jokes. Most of his tweets poke fun of recent current events (whether political, social, economical, etc.), although a good majority of them are jokes made at his own expense. He also attaches photos from time to time of himself being silly.

Just like Newsom, Conan does not reply to anyone. It seems the purpose of his twitter account is to only entertain, with his tweets having the appearance of having been planned out and scheduled ahead of time. I’ve often wondered if he himself is actually tweeting. Aside from the tweets in which he talks about himself, I’m sure he has writers on the side composing his funny one liners.

Looking at the Twitters of both Gavin Newsom and Conan, neither of them seem to utilize Twitter as a two-way interaction between themselves and their followers. While Newsom uses his twitter to inform and promote his politics, Conan’s twitter exists to provide a joke a day and make light of current events.


5 responses

  1. I’m not going to lie, I do enjoy the occasional witty one-liner.

    With the election coming up, do you plan on catching up with the land of politics? It’ll be interesting to see the live tweets on Election Day.

    1. I probably will, but I won’t be following every move. I guess I’ll tune in on the issues that most concern me and follow that. I’m not totally apathetic, but it’s hard to jump in and then keep up with it… forever.

      1. I know what you mean. Not just because politics doesn’t sleep, but also because there is too much media to consume about it all. But when you only pay attention to one outlet, you’re getting such a small window of facts and ideas. :l

  2. Did you happen to notice if these fellows get any tweets sent to them? I’m curious about their followers, especially since neither of them are any good at responding. In terms of engaging with twitter and their publics would you give them a similar grade? If so, what would it be?

    1. I looked just now. Conan gets retweeted between 1,000-4,000 times on a single tweet. He has about 3-5 responses to his tweets every time. Gavin Newsom gets retweeted about 10-35 times for a single tweet, but it’s mostly on the smaller end. Overall, it looks like Conan’s fans will reply to him regardless of him never answering. It’s hard to compare them together since their twitters serve different purposes. Though for their respective category, I guess they’d both get a B. I might be an easy grader.

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