Twitter boss talks about presidential race

The man at the head of the giant microblogging site says without Twitter, candidates will suffer.

Speaking at an All Things D technology conference in California, Twitter boss Dick Costolo said, “Candidates that don’t participate on Twitter while the conversation is happening will be left behind.”

It is true, and by no means a surprise, that all the major candidates have an official Twitter account and are actively posting. Or, rather, the more likely scenario is someone at campaign headquarters is posting Tweets on a regular basis.

Costolo pointed to Obama’s State of the Union speech last week, saying that an average of more than 14,000 Twitter messages were posted every minute for the duration of the 95-minute oration.

This year’s Republican primary has proven to be anything but ordinary. Candidates have sometimes shot up 20 to 30 points in the polls and then right back down within the span of a week, something that has shaken a political system rooted in a rigid and inflexible structure.

Much of the credit for this is being given to social networks, which help spread messages and give more power to candidates without enormous sums of money. Twitter is perhaps less of a factor than, say, Facebook or Youtube, where there is much more organization for supporting a cause or candidate.

Nevertheless, Twitter is an important factor and is the new player this election cycle. Facebook and Youtube were already well established for the 2008 race, but Twitter is a more recent phenomenon.