Politicians risk being twits for using Tweets


POSTED: Wednesday, March 03, 2010

Except for the random “;Watch out for that tree!”; admonition, my advice is rarely followed, but I still have a warning.

I have some advice for politicians and aspiring politicians about to launch their campaigns: Please think twice before you decide to run your operation via Twitter.

Former U.S. Rep. Neil Abercrombie announced his plans to run for governor via Twitter and he attracted attention around the country. But at 71, Abercrombie needed to show a wired electorate that he was capable of using more than the TV remote and could relate to Millennials on the Internet.

Twitter allows you to say anything in 140-character bursts. Although most politicians would be more comfortable filling 140 pages or taking 140 minutes to fill you in, Hawaii's politicians are fascinated with the technology.

Candidate for mayor Councilman Donovan Dela Cruz has a food theme to his Twitter posts, which are called Tweets. He has informed the Twittersphere that he likes the Wahiawa Rainbow Seniors meetings because “;they always make sure I eat.”;

In a two-day span last month, Dela Cruz was able to tell us that he had been at McDonald's, Zippy's, Fresh Cafe and Mandalay, and especially liked the six-piece Chicken McNuggets with BBQ and sweet chili.

Candidate for governor Lt. Gov. James “;Duke”; Aiona has adopted a fortune cookie approach, noting on Sunday that “;Time with the family is time well spent.”;

In a series of Tweets earlier, Sen. J. Kalani English (D, East Maui, Lanai, Molokai) observed the following: “;Oahu is so different than Maui.”; “;Still celebrating the fact of my birth.”; “;Going to a party with the Tahitians in Hono-lulu now.”;

Maybe run together there is a loopy Haiku quality to English's posts. More puzzling is what to do with this, from candidate for mayor Honolulu Prosecutor Peter Carlisle: “;Mahalo to the Blood Bank for taking some of my blood yesterday.”;

There is also the danger of politicians having their identify stolen. Sen. Les Ihara (D, Kaimuki-Palolo) found that someone had hacked his Twitter password and was sending out embarrassing messages until the account could be reopened with a new password.

Taking a page from the Nike slogan of “;Just Do It,”; a former editor of mine had a ball cap printed with the best advice for those thinking they had discovered an amazing insight to share with the world: “;Just Don't.”;


Richard Borreca writes on politics every Wednesday in the Star-Bulletin. You can reach him at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address).