Last updated: March 18, 2011 - 8:57am
As the 2012 presidential race gears up, the growing popularity of Twitter is forcing potential candidates to confront an unfriendly digital reality: It now takes only 140 characters to damage a presidential campaign.
The rise of social media such as Twitter, Facebook and YouTube have accelerated the rate an off-color remark or e-mail can be posted on a news site and in seconds turn into a national story read by millions of people. Bill Burton, Democratic strategist and former spokesman for President Obama, puts the new dynamic in stark terms: "There is a lightning quickness to the speed at which candidates can build and accidentally dismantle their own campaigns. If candidates don't figure out their place in the new digital world of politics, they will be destroyed by it." Missteps can happen to even the most seasoned campaigns.
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