Whistle stops and tweets

Twitter is selling political ads

Whistle stops and tweets

Getty Images; Photo Illustration by Sarah MacKinnon

Twitter has emerged as a favourite tool of U.S. politicians trying to get their message out, even if that message is former Alaskan governor Sarah Palin telling people to “refudiate” something. And with US$6 billion expected to be spent during the 2012 U.S. presidential election campaign, executives at Twitter have decided it’s a good time to cash in on all of the partisan bickering flying back and forth in 140 characters or less. Twitter recently said it will start selling political ads through its “promoted tweets.” The tweets won’t appear in users’ regular feeds, but will show up during searches. Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney is said to be one of the politicians included in Twitter’s pilot project. Perhaps he’s hoping to boost his 100,000 Twitter followers—a far cry from Palin’s 655,000, not to mention U.S. President Barack Obama’s 10 million.

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