In light of Wednesday’s Twitter Town Hall, I started wondering just how useful Twitter could be to politicians and world leaders in the future. I started creating a hypothetical world in which a leader could only use Twitter to interact with citizens, lead a military and perform diplomatic relations… and the crazy part is, a lot of it could work today.
Currently, President Obama and the White House use Twitter to connect with the public. They send out official press releases and statements, link to photos and videos, and give some insight into the daily life in the office of a great world leader – not to mention the Town Hall they held yesterday. However, there is a lot that others are doing which a leader like Obama (or, for our purposes, a fictional Twitter leader) could do in the hypothetical situation of running a country on Twitter.
So what could this hypothetical Twitter leader do?
Well for one, they could hold an election via Twitter. Imagine, casting a vote with a tweet and seeing real-time election results when the polls close.
This Twitter leader could also tweet his or her platform, policies and even a Constitution, especially if they are tasked with setting up the very first Republic of Twitter.
Interfacing with the media would be easy via Twitter too. A leader could answer media inquiries through Direct Messages, hold press conferences using a hashtag chat, and give 140-character soundbites that any media outlet would gladly print.
Political ceremonies could even be held on Twitter. Imagine honoring citizens with tweeted FourSquare-like badges for different civic accomplishments – the “First Time Voting” badge or the “Participated in the Census” badge. Or, the leader could tweet pictures of other heads of state that you meet with.
Running a military might be difficult, but military codes could be shortened and adapted to the hashtag pretty easily. The Twitter leader could send military orders using unbreakable code through Direct Messages so no other Twitter leader could see.
More realistically (in this very non-real hypothetical world), a Twitter leader could use Twitter to catch criminals. Police forces around the world have used Twitter to break various cases, following tweets from the perpetrators and victims of different crimes.
Of course, this situation is pure fantasy, but if you think about it, none of it would be impossible. Heck, even Obama has delegated the signing of official documents to his autopen… which has its own Twitter account. It doesn’t take a huge stretch of the imagination to see how leaders might start to use Twitter for more than just tweeting official press releases in the future.
What do you think? What other ways could a leader use Twitter to run a country?