Much has been said in the tech blogs/journals about Barack Obama using Twitter as a campaigning tool. Most of it has been positive - here is a politician utilising an emerging digital media channel as a way of communicating with those following him.
You can view Obama's Twitter here - http://twitter.com/BarackObama
I think it's a good thing Obama is on Twitter. I do, however, think he could use it better.
Twitter, for those unfamiliar, is a "microblogging" platform. Users upload short, 140 odd character sentences up which show their followers (people who have opted in to receive updates) what they're doing. It could be as simple as 'At the pub' or 'queuing for an iphone' ... or it could be something with more depth.
Obama uses it to keep people aware of what he's doing ... 'Pleased with today's Supreme Court decision to bring terrorists to justice while also protecting our core values' and the like. It's benefit for him is it provides him with a way of delivering real time updates without the media adding their spin. Nice, simple, direct communication.
However, generally communication is a two way street.
Obama has been on Twitter since June 07 - and not once has he responded to any messages on there. For Obama, Twitter is a one way street ... not a 2 way dialogue. Twitter users generally preface direct messages with an @username ... and common courtesy is to respond to these.
I realise Obama is a busy guy - but he (or his campaigners) could at least respond to some direct messages.
I would really hope that eventually he starts to use it as a way of establishing a dialogue with people and getting an idea of their thoughts, concerns, ideas etc ... because right now it's just another channel to pump out a message AT people.