By Charlie Warzel / @cwarzel
Adam Sharp knows DC inside and out. He also knows media. With a background in media production, some time as Sen. Mary Landrieu’s Deputy Chief of Staff, and as Executive Producer of Digital at CSPAN, Sharp is about as plugged in to the DC politics and media scene as one can be. It’s no wonder Twitter scooped him up as their first DC hire back in November 2010.
Currently, Sharp is Twitter’s Government and Politics Manager, which consists of (probably) a lot of heady planning and strategizing for the future of Twitter as a powerful tool for democracy. Yeah, like we said, heady stuff. Thankfully, Adam was able to take an hour out his day to talk with the Personal Democracy + Forum. The conference call was titled, “How To Use Twitter For Personal Democracy”. InTheCapital jumped on the call to listen as Sharp dropped knowledge. Here are some of the highlights.
ON THE 2012 ELECTION & ‘Scalable Retail Politics’…
“What you are seeing in particular this year is Twitter rapidly becoming the real time index for the election,” Sharp mentioned. He believes that the true utility of Twitter is it’s ability to create what he called “scalable retail politics.” He addressed the very real concern from politicians that while Twitter is no doubt helpful, it does cannot replace face to face interactions. Sharp, however, believes that as Twitter becomes ubiquitous voters “will have as much of a chance to be heard as anyone else…even if you can’t get to a town hall meeting.”
Sharp also pointed to what we believe is the most salient argument for Twitter during this campaign season: “Twitter has enormous capacity to demystify government and humanize the people in it.” We couldn’t agree more.
ADVICE TO ALL POLITICIANS…
“Government members are often fixated on follower numbers…when it comes to followers you can start with a mathematical approach, but you need to figure out how to reach out and start relationships.”
He continues, “engagement is a major measure…follower accumulation is a little overappreciated. The most influential users don’t always have the most followers, but they do have the most interesting content.”
IF YOU WANT TO GAIN MORE TWITTER FOLLOWERS…
“How do you take a passive follower and turn them into an echo chamber for your message?…On Twitter the path to that is having compelling information, engaging your users, being yourself, and not having your feed be a regimented stream of press releases.”
ADAM’S TWITTER FACTS
- There are 100 million active users worldwide.
- 70% of those are outside US, which leaves about 30 million in the United States. That’s 1/10 adults in the US actively engaged on the platform. We at InTheCapital only expect that fraction to grow.