It is no secret Twitter and Facebook are a standard part of the campaigning toolkit for all major parties, just like getting up in front of television cameras.
But it is intriguing how the different media spheres play out when it comes to getting down and dirty in politics.
When the cameras roll in the current Queensland election, image-conscious politicians seem keen to toe the party line and are eager to appear polite and keep trash talk to a minimum.
But the gloves come off and the bare knuckle brawling begins when those fighting for their political lives hop into the social media space.
QUT digital media expert Professor Axel Bruns described it as a “media disconnect” in the way certain politicians deal with different platforms.
@jackietrad tweet: Whatever happens on 25 November @CampbellNewman, you will always go down in history as Queensland’s biggest loser #onetermwonder #qldpol twitter.com/campbellnewman…
“There is a perception that on Twitter and other forms of social media [they] can be a little more belligerent; more informal and more aggressive,” he said.
But it was a different story on television.
“[On TV] they still want to appear statesman like and stateswoman like.
“It is much more effective to represent yourself as an electable level-headed acceptable candidate on TV.”
The problems start when tit-for-tat name calling starts to get heated, and that can happen very quickly.
Former LNP premier Campbell Newman and Deputy Premier Jackie Trad have been at it tooth and nail this week over who is the biggest political loser.
On Remembrance Day, Environment Minister Steven Miles tweeted a photo of an opposition candidate’s wreath, with no opposition candidate in attendance at the service.
@StevenJMiles tweet: My @QLDLNP opponent was too busy campaigning outside memorial to make it to the service. #disrespect #qldpol @PeterDutton_MP
‘Only political junkies find this interesting’
Professor Brun says that could have been seen as a bad taste post by many followers.
“I guess election campaigns bring out the worst in politicians at times as well,” he said.
“There is a genuine point to be made at a solemn ceremony like that you would expect all sides of politics to be represented so there is a point he is trying to make.
“But in the language and the tone it might go wrong and seem too aggressive and disrespectful of the event itself.”
Professor Brun said there might be a small number of “political junkies” who found the interactions interesting.
“But I think the vast majority of voters, for them it will be off-putting.
“It will be a sign these politicians are just constantly fighting amongst themselves.
“It really speaks to different audiences.
“The audience of TV is much more general and crosses all party divides.”
‘Not good for politics’
@MarkBaileyMP tweet: Then you should start telling the truth @won’t then need to correct you #snookums #tellthetruth
Griffith University political analyst Dr Tracey Arklay agreed a lot of damage could be done with just a few tweet characters.
“I think it is a real pity and they become really personal and attack the man and not the policies. I do not think it does our politics any good at all,” she said.
“But negative campaigning has been proven to work.
“We saw it work when Tony Abbott was leader of the Opposition for example.
“But I think the long-term damage that occurs in terms of the minds of people who see politicians behaving in an extremely negative way.
@TeamTimTweets: Wow name calling now? You guys really are desperate. Maybe you should spend less time in the gutter and develop some policies instead #notatollroad #qldvotes
“It probably undermines voter’s trust and at the end of the day if they do not trust the politicians they are doing themselves a disservice in the long run.”
Dr Arklay said there was also a danger of being perceived as childish when the sledging gets ugly.
“Personally it does not appeal to me and I think a lot of people out there would say this is our lives that you’re dealing with here,” she said.
@JarrodBleijieMP tweet: Aussies are sick & tired of you leftie do gooder trolls telling them how to live their lives. U demand respect but dont respect others views
“So get on with the issues please and drop this silly stuff. It seems unnecessary.
“I think they should remember that Twitter is an extension of everything else they do.
“They behave like adults, professional adults in terms of when the cameras are on and you would hope they would do that when they are off.”
QUT’s Digital Media Research Centre’s log of social media posts over halfway into the campaign shows that at 30,000 tweets, Labor accounts had received nearly twice as many mentions as the LNP (17,000).
“This is in line with patterns in previous state and federal elections,” Professor Bruns said.
He said he had analysed Twitter election data and identified 60 Labor and 48 Liberal National Party candidates, as well as central party and campaign accounts.
The Greens are represented by 34 accounts, while One Nation and Katter’s Australian Party each have only a handful of tweeting candidates.
Over the first two weeks of the Queensland election campaign, there were 3,300 party and candidate tweets, which received about 54,000 mentions and retweets.