Politicians are still finding their feet online

Am I the only one who feels weird about politicians using social media? Maybe I’m still too young to be feeling this jaded, but every tweet, every Facebook post seems so obviously contrived, so carefully worded by handlers and probably focus-grouped three times over before pressing the blue button. Until they go home and do something totally left-field like take photos of their wang in a glass of wine. Subduing and restricting their access for long enough means that when a politician gets unsupervised access to a smartphone, odds are d*cktweets will start flying in all directions. A quick look over the two main candidates’ social media presence has Tony Abbott coming out as the more clumsily handler-handled – “It is critical for Australia’s future that we have a return to strong, stable government” is one of the most uninspiring things I’ve read all week. No-one actually says that sort of thing out loud, do they? That said, most people in 21st century Australia wouldn’t spruik a fellow party candidate by saying she’s got “sex appeal”.

Kevin, meanwhile, seems a little more human but his instagram selfies are, admittedly, odd:


Naww, Kev cut himself shaving while rushing out the door to save the country. It’s kind of cute and oddball, but this is coming from the man who tried to pass himself off as the nice-guy thrust unwillingly into the limelight several times over the last year while, behind the scenes, he was desperately scrapping to get his all-powerful old job back.

Reading back over all that, it sounds like I need to get some of my old teenage idealism back. I guess it’s because politicians have taken their time getting used to social media. The Tony Abbott method of pumping out tweet after tweet inspiring literature like

“The East West Link will improve productivity, decrease business costs and ease congestion. Only the Coalition will build it”

serves only to clog up everyone’s feeds. The Anthony Weiner/Peter Dowling approach obviously has it’s – ehem – shortcomings. And I even feel cheated by the dorky-dad approach of Kev (as opposed to the sexism passed off as dorky dadness by the Abbott camp) because he spent the past year proving himself as exactly the opposite.

I miss the Chaser – although they are back next week to warm up the Lateline crowd. In the meantime, I’ll leave you with a nice little summing up of the Australian election through American eyes. Thank god for The Daily Show:


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