Tag Archives: twitter

Oz PM goes 2.O

So, Kev (or K-Rudd as I heard him called in Nambour) is now on Twitter. He’s even following me… or at least he was.

There are some pretty smart colleagues of mine (Stephen Collins and Stilgherrian) already offering advice to him for nix.  He’d do well to listen.

 And if he decides not to listen – I’m sure someone will…


Congressional Rules for Social Media

I’ve been following an interesting conversation on twitter between Amanda Chappel and Texan Congressman John Culberson on his use of social media tools so he can ‘better communicate with the public and become more accessible to my constituents.’

Through the use of twitter and Qik, Culberson has been broadcasting from the floor of Congress in an effort to shine some ‘sunlight’ on congressional procedures.

Whilst this in itself is a good thing, it appears to contravene a number of congressional rules on the use of ‘approved’ websites that require the politician to provide a disclaimer indicating: ‘this tweet is a communication from an official federal representative’ (that’s 66 characters twitter users).

Digging a little deeper into the debate, it’s obvious that there is some political grandstanding involved which Shelby Highsmith does a great job of covering. The speaker of the House of Representatives, Nancy Pelosi also chimes in, responding to a number of ‘inaccurate rumours’.

Politics aside, I think Culberson is genuinely trying to change the way the US government works. The debate he has helped force, looks like it will influence new rules for Congressional engagement (with some help from the sunlight foundation) and more elected representatives will be using social media to communicate with their constituents.

With our own elected representatives in the UK using twitter and blogging it can’t be too long till one of them is using QIK from the floor of Parliament?

Perhaps it’s time to get Tom an N95?

Her Majesty’s news on twitter – an update


A while back I mentioned that I’d developed an aggregated news feedof UK Government press notices for Twitter. It works for me because twitter is (when it’s working) where I spend a lot of my time online.

The tool was/is far from perfect, and with some very helpful suggestions from Dave Briggs, Simon Dickson, Paul Webster, John Sheridan and a host of other peopleI have managed to improve (I think)  the content by incorporating more feeds, hash-tags and doing a bit of QA on the links. It’s not perfect – but it works for me.

One thing I haven’t been able to do is sit on the end of the account and respond. This is one of the fantastic things about the Downing Street service – civil servants, responding and providing advice in an ‘official’ capacity. This probably explains why I was only recently able to clock just over one hundred subscribers (124 today) – a feat the Downing Street feed was able to achieve in roughly an hour.

As I said in my original post, if there are any civil servants out there that would like to take ownership of the account to make it more two-way, I’m happy to hand it over.

Why @DowningStreet is better than @HMGov

I had hoped that at some stage I might blog about something other than twitter, but yesterday brought news of the Prime Minister’s arrival to twitter.

There are lots of reasons why the Downing Street tool is better than the HMGOV news feed , but for me the top three would be:

1. It’s official

2. It’s [kinda] two way

3. Its one source of information – not many.

I’m really pleased that the take up of Downing Street twitter feed has been so significant, as Nick Booth points out, there wasn’t exactly a rush to follow the HMGov tool when I published it.  It’s how the take up occurred that I find really interesting. As Simon Dickson said

‘Just as interesting: I think I broke the story when I mentioned it to my own (relatively) select band of Twitter contacts. I was subscriber no3. Two hours later, we’re up to 23. Word travels fast.’

Stuart Bruce goes into a bit more detail:

‘I (245 followers) was NOT the first to Tweet or blog this story. That honour goes to Simon Dickson (39 followers) at 12:04 yesterday, mine was second at 13:18. It was just that mine got picked up by Marshall Manson (followers 150), which in turn was picked up by Steve Rubel (4627 followers). I think it’s down to the number of followers.’

With 234 followers (at last look) Downing Street has a pretty powerful conversational tool on it’s hands – It’ll be interesting to see what happens when they start talking.

Red Card for Twitter Use

I’m particularly interested in how political campaign teams are using social media to extend the reach of campaign messages, so I’ve been watching the US primaries with interest. From this side of the pond, the level of adoption by most campaign teams appears quite high and there is clear evidence of a range of ‘blogger outreach’ programmes to support on and offline activities.

It’s not surprising then, that with increased use of online tools to recruit, manage and leverage communities, that there is also a higher degree of focus on what is being said and by whom.

Friday brought news of Soren Dayton, a McCain (remember him?) staffer that has been suspended for tweeting the existence of a video mashup on you tube: Is Obama Wright

I’m not sure what the conditions of Soren’s employment were, but his twitter profile left little in the way of speculation to who he was and who he worked for. Obviously enough people were following Dayton to break the news about his linking to the video, and the McCain campaign felt that this provided sufficient grounds to ‘suspend’ him.

Interestingly, social networking tools are also being used to spearhead the campaign to defend Soren. Joshua Trevino from the Pacific Research Institute was quick to respond with a ‘Save Soren’ campaign on Facebook.

It would be easy to dismiss this as another case of an employee not understanding the boundaries between ‘public’ and ‘private’ communications. Unfortunately, as Soren is an experienced political campaigner and was using his profile to promote the McCain campaign, he should have understood that his tweets could be perceived as tacit endorsement by the McCain campaign for the video. So, as far as I can tell, Soren either:

(a) made an honest mistake

(b) is part of a very clever political machine working to keep the Obama/Wright issue in the news

(c) wasn’t told, or didn’t understand, what he should and shouldn’t say.

I’m going to go with option (c).  

Soren either didn’t know what he should or shouldn’t say, or didn’t understand the guidance he was given (hoping, of course, he was given some). Without a clear steer on what campaign staff should and shouldn’t say online, there are bound to be more mistakes like this.

Given recent discussions in the UK about links and libel, civil servants blogging and the implications this has, I wonder how many employees and employers have considered this in the same way for twitter?

Her Majesty’s news – on twitter.

Of all the social media tools I use, twitter is my favourite (well, it is this week).

One of the reasons I started blogging today, a bit in advance of when I wanted to, was some activity on twitter and in some blogs by some colleagues.

A lot of my time is spent on twitter and I thought it would be useful if I could quickly scan bits and pieces of info released by government. So, with a bit of playing around, I pulled together an aggregated twitter feed for Her Majesty’s Government News. I’ve done my best to capture RSS feeds from as many .gov.uk websites as possible. The volume of news produced by the government can vary and it might not be right for everyone – but it works for me.

This isn’t exactly a new idea. There are a range of twitter streams that aggregate RSS feeds and there have been some practical demonstrations and a lot of thinking on how twitter and other social media can extend the reach of communications used in emergency situations.

I expect to have similar feeds up for UK government consultations; I was going to do one for local government, but Mr Briggs beat me to the line on that one.

I have also developed an aggregated twitter feed for travel advice that pulls in alerts from the US and Australia – it’s still a little clunky, so don’t rely on it if you are about to go to Tibet.

If I have missed your feed let me know: hmgovnews[at]google[dot]mail[dot]com