Feeds

Seven MPs go a Twittering

I'm on the front bench...er, no I'm not

Designing a Defense for Mobile Applications

Government ministers Tom Watson and David Lammy are among MPs who have signed up to a portal of parliamentarians' Twitter feeds

Tweetminster was launched on 18 December 2008, with four MPs: Cabinet Office minister Watson, the Labour MP Andy Reed, Grant Shapps of the Conservative Party and Liberal Democrat Jo Swinson, who mentioned the service on its launch day in the Commons.

Three more MPs have since joined: Liberal Democrat Lynne Featherstone, Labour MP Kerry McCarthy and higher education minister David Lammy.

Twitter allows users to exchange short messages known as tweets, equivalent in length to a mobile phone text message. They can subscribe to other users' tweets by 'following' them.

Tom Watson – who has more than 800 followers for his Twitter account, on which he has posted more than 1,000 updates – noted a US Twitter portal for members of Congress, Tweetcongress, in a tweet on 14 December.

Alberto Nardelli, the chief executive of social entrepreneur website UnLtdWorld.com, asked if there was anything similar in the UK, to which Watson replied: "I've not come across anything similar. I don't think there's enough MPs using it in the UK to make it work at the moment."

Nardelli decided to set up Tweetminster nevertheless, and did so in two days. "The aim is really simple, to allow voters to have more open conversations with their members of parliament," he told GC News.

"It's not a tool where you have long debates on big issues, as you are limited to 140 characters," Nardelli added. "You wouldn't discuss the Iraq war." But an MP could write a tweet saying they will be joining a Commons debate on an issue, allowing voters to give their views in advance.

Nardelli said Twitter can complement blogs and other websites for MPs. "The advantage of this versus a blog is that a blog is more time intensive," but a tweet can link to a web page such as a blog entry. He pointed out that US president elect Barack Obama used tweets to tell followers he would be speaking on a subject, his blog to post the text and YouTube to post a video of it. "I think it's about using a tool for the right purpose."

Tweetminster includes a postcode search allowing users to see if their local MP is using Twitter, and in the new year will add functionality allowing users to search on issues.

However, on 23 December much of the discussion concerned Twitpanto – a pantomime to be held through Twitter, in which Tom Watson was due to play a role.

This article was originally published at Kablenet

Kablenet's GC weekly is a free email newsletter covering the latest news and analysis of public sector technology. To register click here.

HP ProLiant Gen8: Integrated lifecycle automation

More from The Register

next story
Auntie remains MYSTIFIED by that weekend BBC iPlayer and website outage
Still doing 'forensics' on the caching layer – Beeb digi wonk
Apple orders huge MOUNTAIN of 80 MILLION 'Air' iPhone 6s
Bigger, harder trouser bulges foretold for fanbois
Bring back error correction, say Danish 'net boffins
We don't need no steenkin' TCP/IP retransmission and the congestion it causes
GoTenna: How does this 'magic' work?
An ideal product if you believe the Earth is flat
Samsung Z Tizen OS mobe is post-phoned – this time for good?
Russian launch for Sammy's non-droid knocked back
Telstra to KILL 2G network by end of 2016
GSM now stands for Grave-Seeking-Mobile network
Seeking LTE expert to insert small cells into BT customers' places
Is this the first step to a FON-a-like 4G network?
Yorkshire cops fail to grasp principle behind BT Fon Wi-Fi network
'Prevent people that are passing by to hook up to your network', pleads plod
prev story

Whitepapers

Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
Consolidation: The Foundation for IT Business Transformation
In this whitepaper learn how effective consolidation of IT and business resources can enable multiple, meaningful business benefits.
Application security programs and practises
Follow a few strategies and your organization can gain the full benefits of open source and the cloud without compromising the security of your applications.
How modern custom applications can spur business growth
Learn how to create, deploy and manage custom applications without consuming or expanding the need for scarce, expensive IT resources.
Securing Web Applications Made Simple and Scalable
Learn how automated security testing can provide a simple and scalable way to protect your web applications.