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Friday, September 25, 2009

Twittering for democracy

If there is one thing that I would warn any aspiring MP or Assembly Member to watch out for it is the hoards of academics and opinion surveyors who continually beat a path to the door of all elected representatives seeking information and views to fill up their latest academic treatise or commissioned project.

Sympathetic as I often am, there are only so many hours in a standard working day and I need to use all of those for meetings and helping my constituents. For some reason these researchers rarely work the sort of hours I do so holding interviews before 9am or after 6pm is not normally a an option.

The results of their work though are often interesting from an anoraky point of view and ocassionally enlightening too. Thus this research on the University of Plymouth website gives some indication as to which party's MPs are best embracing new technologies.

Their research has revealed that nearly 67% of all tweeting MPs belong to Labour ahead of 18% for the Liberal Democrats, with the Tories relegated into third place with just 12%. When you factor in the proportion of MPs that each party boasts, they say it is clear that the Lib Dems are leading the way when it comes to embracing the popular social media site.

And yet, putting it into perspective overall, just 51 of the 645 MPs are classed as regular Twitter users. They have concluded that women MPs are more likely to tweet and that 43.1% of tweeting MPs are either Government Ministers or Official Opposition spokespersons.

They have also commented on the use of Twitter from the Commons' chamber and the nature of MPs' tweets.
So, women are more likely to tweet or gossip. Now, who would have thought that? Hee! Hee! Hee!

Unlike you, Peter, most elected ones online are just plain boring. Let's use Edwina Hart as our example. I imagine a typical tweet from her would read: 'Launched new initiative today. Shows how good I am. You will agree the NHS in Wales is wonderful under my care. Don't agree? Seek treatment.' or 'The Ambulance Service in Wales has problems. Yes it does and I've acknowledged that. Here then are details of my 57th attempt to improve it.'.

Anyway, I have been thinking of standing for Parliament in 2010 and in 2014. For I always appear to be helping other people into Parliament lately. Like most prospective MPs I've met, if I get elected I also believe I am going to bring something really big and rather important to Parliament. Myself. Hee! Hee! Hee!
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