I’m not the only one to have noticed an unusual surge of people signing up to Twitter recently. But today, Downing Street started using it. And when the UK government signs up to Twitter, you know it’s hit the mainstream.
Oh, and where did I hear this? On Twitter.
Anyway, turns out it’s just Twitter shovelware using Twitterfeed, though that’s not bad in itself, and actually shows a higher level of tech savviness than simply twittering.
Meanwhile, those who want mobile updates on government matters now have it, which is pretty good. Marshall Manson suggests Brown may be the first head of state to use the tool, while Luke Pollard adds “to be fair both Obama and Clinton are well progressed and twittering a plenty in their fight for the democratic nomination – here and here – and arguably have a better Twitter pedigree”.
Since I posted this Bloggers Blog have added some more information about US politicians’ use of the tool, although Tweetscan reveals they are wrong about the twitterer who broke the news: that honour goes to
Dave Briggs Simon Dickson (and as an aside, what sort of Bloggers Blog doesn’t allow comments?).
Dickson has previously blogged about the first twittering MP and other political uses of the tool in Britain.
Any journalists who weren’t signed up to Twitter before have little excuse now: this may just be a repurposed RSS feed, but receiving updates on your mobile means a journalist is less likely to miss out on announcements.
And it’s a signal of things to come: expect more direct communication with the electorate using this and similar channels. How journalists change their role from information processors (gatekeepers) to after-the-fact analysts – or another role – is a key question of our time.
it would be great if No.10 started ‘following’ other twitterers to present the semblance of conversation (and some amusement for satirists), but I live in hope... No.10 has started following other twitterers, including the Telegraph’s Ian Douglas, political blogger Matt Wardman and ‘regimeofterror‘.
For the record, I was follower no.38 – it’s gone up to 64 in the time I’ve edited this post. Word’s spreading fast.