British MPs start to communicate

7 Jul
John Prescott's twitter page

John Prescott's twitter page

I was just pointed to a really interesting gallery on The Independent’s website titled Twitter’s speedy move to the centre of politics. The gallery is compiled with the help from the team at Tweetminister, which is a really useful resource that lists all tweeting MPs and Prospective Parliamentary Candidates (PPCs).

What I really find interesting about it and is obviously the point of the gallery, is the evolution of twitter use by Parliamentarians. Initially, when I first joined twitter around 18 months ago, I think there were only one, maybe two MPs tweeting. Now according to the Independent, there are at least 66 MPs tweeting – 10% of the Commons. What’s even more exciting is that the vast majority of those MPs are active tweeters. Sure you have MPs such as @HarrietHarman who hasn’t tweeted since May and there is Shahid Malik (@DewsburyMP) who has never posted, but you also have avid users such as Kerry McCarthy [Lab] – Bristol East with 2623 updates, Jo Swinson [LD] – East Dunbartonshire with 1503 and of course Tom Watson [Lab] – West Bromwich East with 2368. There are apparently also 13 Ministers tweeting away.

Some MPs have even got so involved they have tinted their profiles green in support of the Iranian protestors. This may be a slightly questionable in terms of foreign policy decisions, but the fact is these MPs actively involved in the political social media revolution.

Most surprisingly, possibly in the majority of cases, it is actually them tweeting and not a researcher hidden away in Portcullis house as proven by @JoSwinson who tweets from the Chamber. And they reply if you contact them.

So the moral here is that there is a growing awareness of the power of twitter and social media in Westminster and this is surely going to grow. Twitter, facebook and other tools are becoming more and more legitimate ways to contact and engage with MPs and other key decision makers. I can only guess about what is to come especially in the lead up to the General Election.

Cross posted with Ruder Finn Dot Comms

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