In Brazil, Twitter also a platform for political conversation

Friday, 21 February 2014

When one thinks about Twitter and politics, the 2012 US presidential campaign often comes to mind. From dispatches at the Republican and Democratic national conventions, to reports on the pulse of the electorate through the Twitter Political Index, Twitter has proven to be a great real-time barometer for what people are thinking, feeling and talking about during the US election cycle.

While the United States anticipates its next presidential election cycle in 2016, discussion on Twitter in Brazil is already in full swing. Despite the fact that the formal electoral cycle for the country’s 2014 elections has yet to begin, many political figures, including current president, Dilma Rousseff (@dilmabr), are already using Twitter to reach out to the electorate, share their platforms and engage in the rich political discussion.

Most recently, Governor Eduardo Campos (@eduardocampos40), leader of the Brazilian Socialist Party (PSB), hosted a Twitter Q&A to share ideas around his political platform and chat with voters.

[Translation: The conversation is already productive; I’m waiting for you to join. Send your question with the hashtag #EduardoResponds]

The day he announced his Q&A, Governor Campos gained 968 new followers — 25 times his daily average. To promote the event, the governor tweeted reminders along with the #EduardoResponds hashtag and possible topics of conversation.

[Translation: Mr. Governor, if elected, what would you do for Brazil’s most poverty stricken?]

[Translation: What is the solution to the crisis in our prisons?]

The political discussion on Twitter was no less fruitful. The conversation with voters, which was scheduled to last 30 minutes, extended to just over an hour and half, generating 1,948 mentions of his Twitter handle: @EduardoCampos40 (32 times his daily average) and 2,430 mentions at the hashtag #EduardoResponde (Eduardo Responds). By the time Governor Campos tweeted a Vine video thanking all those who had participated, the Q&A had become the No. 2 Trending Topic in the country.

This was not the first time a national Brazilian political figure has engaged an audience in this type of live question and answer session, and it will likely not be the last. Already in São Paulo the largest constituency in the country, leaders from rival parties, Governor Geraldo Alckmin (@geraldoalckmin_) and former Health Minister Alexandre Padilha (@padilhando), use Twitter every day to communicate with citizens. Who knows what Brazilian political figure will invite their audiences to join the conversation next?

Do you know of other innovative uses of Twitter? Write to [email protected].