If political candidates want to make any traction in this year's election, they better use Twitter, says Dick Costolo, CEO of the social networking firm.
Costolo, speaking at the All Things D high-tech conference in Laguna Niguel, California Monday night, predicted that the Twitter social network will play a key role in this year's presidential election.
"Gosh, I really think 2012 is going to be the Twitter election," said Costolo, according to a report on CNN.com.
Politicians have increasingly used social networks like Twitter, Facebook and YouTube, especially since 2008 when then-presidential candidate Barack Obama schooled other candidates on the benefits of social media.
Since then, using social networks to educate potential voters, organize volunteers and bring in donations has more and more become a part of the political process.
Costolo said candidates can mold their images by using Twitter.
In an on-stage interview with All Things D media editor Peter Kafka, Twitter's CEO noted that the majority of the Republican candidates for president this year are buying Promoted Tweets. In fact, he said, a "significant portion" of Twitter's 2012 ad sales will come from political ads. "They're buying ads ... and they're going to continue to do it," Costolo said, according to a report in VentureBeat.
Costolo noted that Obama's joke about "crying over spilled milk" during last week's State of the Union address quickly inspired more than 14,000 tweets per minute, highlighting Twitter's ability to take the real-time temperature of the political landscape, VentureBeat reported.
"Candidates that don't participate on Twitter while the conversation is happening, will be left behind," he said.
Sharon Gaudin covers the Internet and Web 2.0, emerging technologies, and desktop and laptop chips for Computerworld. Follow Sharon on Twitter at @sgaudin, or subscribe to Sharon's RSS feed . Her e-mail address is email@example.com.