Twitter takes aim at 'retail politics' in Latin America

Wed May 14, 2014 2:06pm EDT
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By Esteban Israel

SAO PAULO (Reuters) - After seeing explosive growth across Latin America, Twitter Inc is now tapping into the region's other big passion besides soccer – politics.

The company dispatched its top political strategist to Brazil this week to give senators in one of its biggest global markets a pep talk on tweets and how to use the social network ahead of the October general election.

"The Latin American market is growing, and elections are good opportunities for Twitter," Adam Sharp said in an interview.

A former congressional aide in Washington, Sharp's job is to promote the use of Twitter as an indispensable work tool for governments and politicians.

In a year when Brazil, Colombia and half a dozen other Latin American nations are holding elections, the microblog allows politicians to increase the scope and speed of campaigns and profit from "scalable retail politics," Sharp told Reuters.

"Authenticity is the most critical tactic when it comes to using Twitter in politics," he said, adding that some Latin American leaders have been quick in recognizing the power of the platform for enabling direct communication with voters.

"I would encourage engaging more, using it less as just a broadcast platform and more for two-way dialogue," Sharp said.

Twitter was instrumental in the organization of massive anti-government demonstrations that rocked Brazil President Dilma Rousseff's popularity last year. She learned the lesson quickly, however, reactivating her own dormant Twitter account (@dilmabr) and even pioneering Q&A sessions with her 2.3 million followers.   Continued...

The Twitter logo is pictured at its headquarters on Market Street in San Francisco, California April 29, 2014. REUTERS/Robert Galbraith