20 Tips for Tweeting Politicians

This first came about through a series of tweets on a lazy Sunday morning. I have morphed the tweets into this article. It is not meant to be a thesis, just a tongue-in-cheek look at how some politicians behave on and make use of the Malaysian Twittersphere, known as “Twitterjaya”. I have rearranged the order of the original series of tweets and expanded on some of the points that were previously limited by 140 characters. Oh and as a disclaimer, if you think anything in this article is a reference to you, you are probably wrong, and you should stop thinking that the world revolves around you.

So, you are a politician. You have heard of this “Twitter” that everyone talks about, and you think that it might give you some visibility and assist you in your political ambitions. Hey, it worked for @tankengliang, so why not? So you get your lackeys to create a Twitter account for you.

1. Nothing says ‘poyo‘ more than putting your title or position in your tweethandle. “MP”, “mb”, “cm”, “DSU” or “Dato” are all big no nos. Avoid at all costs.

Your account is created, and it is time to start tweeting.

For a start you can do the following:

2. Tell Twitterjaya where you are, or where you will be going.

3. Inform Twitterjaya about the function that you are attending, or what is the problem that needs solving.

4. Tell Twitterjaya what you did in the function, or how you solved the problem.

5. Slam your opponents for not solving the problem.

These are basic tweets from politicians in Malaysia, and you can never go wrong with them.

To add on:

6. Send a few choice Twitpics that shows how awesome you are. A photo of you kissing babies, giving money to the infirmed, unclogging drains, or laying bricks. You can also take photos of the grateful commoners who came for the function. The best angle is one that gives the impression of a full house, even though it’s just the first five rows.

7. Or, get your lackeys to twitpic or tweet for you and you RT them later. Sometimes, you may have an overly enthusiastic lackey. He or she will RT all your tweets even though he or she has far less followers than you. This act will only serve to annoy your followers. Curb your lackey’s enthusiasm!

8. Remember the golden rule — Twitlonger is the tool of cybertroopers. Keep your tweets to 140 characters unless you are one.

But, using Twitter to only tweet your political activities is a waste of Twitter’s potential:

9. If all your tweets are about your political schedule, why bother? That is what your Blogspot blog is for. You will not gain followers by doing this alone.

Also tweet your thoughts.

10. A smart politician will read his or her timeline to gauge what the sentiments are. Then, he or she weighs the options and send one or two tweets on the current topic. A not-so-smart politician will just read one or two tweets on the topic, from his or her lackeys. He or she reacts on the topic without thinking, only to find out later than the reaction is not in line with the rest of Twitterjaya and has to scramble to control the damage. When this happens, do not tagih simpati (crave sympathy) for such rashness.

11. Pepper your tweets with a few standard words. For BN use words like “jasa“, “pembangunan“, “kestabilan“, “track record”, “ETP, GTP” and “1Malaysia”. For PR, use words like “rakyat“, “perjuangan“, “rasuah“, “zalim“, “lawan“, “ubah” and of course, “reformasi“.

12. How to tweet like a dumb politician — repeat your points in a series of tweets in 3 different languages. Again. And again. And again.

Twitter can also be used to boost your image.

13. RT tweets that show how you are, quite simply, the sliced bread of Malaysian politicals.

14. Show your followers how tight you are with your leader.Bersama-sama dengan Datuk Seri A di Kenduri Persatuan Tangan Kiri Malaysia“. Use words like “boss” or “chief” to refer to your leader, as terms of endearment.

15. Remember, a show of confidence goes along way. Announce to the world you’re ready to take on opponents. You can afford it if your constituency is as safe as Durex.

16. If you’re a second or third tier politician, always tag a first tier politician when you tweet. Who knows, they might remember you. Even vaguely.

17. There’s something compelling about a hipster politician. Makes ’em human. So go ahead, Instagram away! Or appeal to the geek crowd by tweeting about Game of Thrones or Skyrim. You will get responses faster than you can say “Fus Ro Dah!”.

Another way to boost your image is to take on bigger opponents on Twitter.

18. But, trolling your opponents on Twitter can backfire. So, hunt in packs. Tag your friends when you confront bigger political opponents. You know this, you have watched how hyenas hunt on Animal Planet.

Using the tips above will make your fairly respectable on Twitterjaya and you can garner a decent following.

But to truly make use of Twitter, take heed of these last two tips.

19. Your posse is a reflection of you. Smart politicians will surround themselves with those who tweet on Nietzsche and Murakami, give thoughts about the Euro debt crisis and share articles from the New York Times or The Guardian. Not-so-smart politicians meanwhile surround themselves with those who tweet using words like “Al-juburi” and “Bik Mama”, tweet one liners like “Hancur BN!!!!!” to every issue or end incredulous arguments with “:)” as if they just tweeted something cool or profound. Of course, this assumes that you have a posse. If you are a second or third tier politician, you ARE the posse.

20. A really savvy politician will place strategic people around Twitterjaya who will subtly support him or her or criticise his or her opponents under the guise of ‘objectivity’. This gives the impression that he or she has the support of objective and intelligent people. For some reason though, these people like to tweet quotes, most likely obtained from Wikiquotes.

So, these are 20 tips for tweeting politicians to guide them through the wonderful world of Twitterjaya.

These tweets will not make you a social media darling, but at least you will not spark negative internet memes anytime soon.


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Syahredzan Johan adalah seorang peguam muda dan seorang rakan kongsi di sebuah firma guaman di Kuala Lumpur. Dia melihat dirinya sebagai seorang pengkritik politik dan pengulas sosial. Tetapi dia sebenarnya hanyalah seorang warga Malaysia yang mempunyai terlalu banyak pendapat. Dia adalah seorang yang patriotik, walaupun bukan dengan cara biasa seperti mengibar bendera. Dia percaya Malaysia mempunyai potensi yang hanya dapat direalisasi sekiranya rakyatnya belajar bersatu-padu dan bukannya berpecah-belah. Ikutilah Syah di Refleksi Minda.

Posted on 28 May 2012. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0.

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5 Responses to 20 Tips for Tweeting Politicians

  1. fakemalaysianews

    We love it

  2. Shy

    'u must be tweetjaya advisor to KJ. not one he missed!

  3. Rusyan

    Don't insult sliced bread.

  4. Pepper Lim

    Nice! Saw my name at #11.