I can see the attraction of microblogging for putting your worthiness about, without the efforts of writing a full-on short-term leadership blog. As Alan’s e-Campaigner Stuart Bruce says:
“Being secretary of state for education and employment is a critical job and there is no way Alan could do a blog properly. It’s better to not blog than to do it badly. Most people don’t have a clue what senior politicians do. Using Twitter gives a real insight and clearly shows that he’s an ordinary guy.”
I’m not so sure about his other suggestions on how Twittering is a more inclusive format than blogging:
“Only 60 % of UK households use the internet regularly. Mobile phone penetration is nearly 100 %. Twitter is a way of making the campaign much more accessible to most people.”
In principle, sure, Twitter is great for letting those of us without a computer keep in the loop. But I’d question not just how many people have ever heard of Twitter in the UK that don’t already have internet access too, but how many people outside of the bloggerati – that least representative group of Labour members – have the faintest whit what all this is about in the first place.
This is where I think the lovely democratic potential of web2.0 often falls down. It can spread like lightening through people who are already linked in to it, but new services lack the marketing money or revenue shares to get into the places they need to be to be seen by Jo/e Punter – on the sides of London buses, or integrated into the phone networks’ portals.
Any hint of a glorious dawn of 1-1 communications with our elected leaders should be grabbed at whilst we can though – it looks to be winding down already in the USA. Facebook have a special category for US politicians now. You can’t be a friend of John Edwards (Alan’s comrade in twittering) any more, but instead get the chance to register yourself to support him – something a fair way different!
However it’s good to see that Alan & Stuart are taking their gimmicks seriously and are on the ball on keeping things updated – my facebook friend request was reciprocated much quicker than from most of my real friends 😉
My gimmick tip to Stuart (tho he’s most likely doing it already) – a well-touted MyBlogLog profile. Most political bloggers would be disproportionally well flattered if it looked like Alan had been reading their pages!