Twitter and Politics

Daron Mark, Omega Contributor  Ω

NDP MP Pat Martin made headlines for dropping an F-bomb while seated in the House of Commons last week, but he did it without uttering a word.

Referring to the Conservative government’s new infatuation with closing debate on major pieces of legislation very quickly he tweeted “(expletive) disgrace.”

While some people might condemn such actions as inappropriate and uncalled for, I thought Martin’s tweet was nothing short of brilliant.

His outburst gave him an extended platform to drive home his dissatisfaction with how the Harper government has been conducting themselves since winning a majority last summer.

If Martin had done the diplomatic thing and bit his tongue (or in this case, bit his thumb…?) the Conservatives might well have been able to use the same tactic of culling debate on new legislation again without any backlash.

By sounding-off in a provocative way, Martin was able to use Twitter to bring attention to the proceedings in a way that will likely cause the Conservatives to think twice before trying it again, at least in the foreseeable future.

Sports athletes have tried for years now to vent their frustrations on Twitter, but unfortunately all it seems to do is cause unrest with teammates.

Even if it doesn’t work for athletes, complaining on Twitter could be incredibly advantageous for politicians, especially if it’s highly provocative.

Think about how many major news outlets covered Martin’s outburst.

I read articles about it in the Globe and Mail, and on Yahoo News and The Huffington Post.

Each one had a slightly different angle, but all of them quoted Martin voicing his displeasure with Conservative politics.

The reason I think this could be so effective is because I think we tend to forget most of what we read in the paper.

All that’s likely to be remembered from a story like this one is that Pat Martin was pissed off because the Conservatives were playing dirty. (Even though they technically aren’t.)

Twitter could become the ultimate political slander machine. I know if I was an MP in the House of Commons, I would be tempted to try to use it to sway public opinion.
Wouldn’t you?