News Column

Jolly Good Tweeting for MPs Hip to Twitter

Nov. 6, 2012

MATTHEW GEORGE By MATTHEW GEORGE Parliamentary Correspondent


MPs should use social media such as Twitter to break down the poor image they have of being divorced from the real world, a report said yesterday.

The think-tank Parliament Street believes the huge success of some politicians shows there is a large number of people ready to listen to them - as long as they are accessible and interesting.

Clwyd West MP and Welsh Secretary David Jones leads the way in North Wales, with wide-ranging tweets adding up to more than the rest of the region's MPs put together (see panel).

The study says: "Social media is a powerful tool, but too many MPs are failing to engage with it in an effective or sensible manner.

Learning from those who use it well, engaging with people, retweeting and seeming to be 'normal' could go a long way to reversing the damage the appearance of being distant Here's MPs number 1: 2: 3: Ian and alien is doing to our democracy."

"The authors suggest MPs need to spend time on social media sites, learning the 'tricks of the trade' and studying those who are most successful.4: 5: 6: 7: No Albert Susan "Twitter shouldn't be seen as something just to 'do' but a vital component of engaging with the people. If MPs heed this lesson and start to ask questions about how they can use Twitter more effectively we should see more people engaging with politicians.

"That can only be a good thing for our democracy."

The research found the average number of followers for MPs was just under 4,000, although for the top 10 it was close to 23,000.

Labour leader Ed Miliband has over 171,000 followers, Prime Minister David Cameron some 142,000 and Deputy PM Nick Clegg 94,346, Labour vice-chairman Tom Watson has more than 100,000, despite not holding a major office of state, and the report recommends MPs learn from the avid tweeter.

Some leading politicians, such as former Olympics Minister Tessa Jowell, tweet 40 times a day on average. "But other MPs are less enthusiastic, with many not even bothering to post a profile photo, highlighting a distinct lack of interest to interact with the public."

Steven Hilley of Parliament Street said: "Breaking down barriers between the Westminster bubble and the electorate should be a top priority for all MPs and improving their social media skills is a key step."

TWITTER TOPS Here's how our North Wales MPs stack up on Twitter, with number of tweets/followers: 1: David Jones 11,877/5,052 2: David Hanson 3873/5681 3: Ian Lucas 2910/1,788 4: Hywel Williams 1,481/1,762 5: Glyn Davies 1,473/1,479 6: Guto Bebb 196/307 7: Chris Ruane 81/387 No tweets found: Albert Owen, Elfyn Llwyd, Susan Jones, Mark Tami.

Source: (C) 2012 Daily Post. via ProQuest Information and Learning Company; All Rights Reserved

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