SMXChat is going to break a cardinal rule here and talk politics! Not really. We’re going to talk about social media’s influence in politics. The distinction? We’re wondering: can social communities either predict or affect the outcome of political races? It’s a stretch to call this a current issue, as the U.S. Presidential election is more than a year away! But the political candidates are ramping up their rhetoric and exposure in anticipation of primary season, which, admittedly is about six months off.

Some candidate(s) are being seen, heard, and recognized around the world for their outrageous (and in some cases, inane) remarks. The breadth and immediacy of social media networks makes this possible in a way that has been virtually unheard of just two or three presidential elections ago. Social networks make real-time, unfiltered, unedited comments straight from the source a reality in the debate and discussion around issues. Sort of.

Even with the candidates speaking directly to us, we get vagaries and spin, especially when controversy erupts. I guess that makes politics an analogy just about any purpose that the social medium is used for – and another forum in which we discuss attributes like sincerity, transparency, reputation and integrity.

Our co-moderator Ehsan approaches the question with a reference to the old adage ‘There is no such thing as bad publicity.‘ And we’re off! #SMXChat challenges the conventional wisdom and opens up the discussion about politics and social media.

Q1) Is there no such thing as bad publicity in the political process?

Q2) Aren’t social networks the perfect vehicle for reaching a broad audience as a political candidate?

Q3) Saying something controversial gets lots of notice, but does it advance your cause?

Q4) What responsibilities should political campaigns recognise in using social media?

Q5) In the U.S. most Presidential candidates are using social media personally and directly. Is it a good or a bad tactic? Why?

Q6) How does what’s happening on social media in the U.S. Presidential campaign compare to politics where you live?