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MPs are increasingly using Twitter to communicate with their constituents, and talk about kittens, research has shown. The number of parliamentarians using the social networking website has rocketed from 111 in January last year to 275 today, westminsterpa.com found.
Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg and Labour leader Ed Miliband are among the most prominent MPs to use Twitter to get their political message across, but many are also tweeting to show their human side. Labour MP Gavin Shuker, who sent 17 tweets in one day in June, introduced himself to followers as a "shadow environment minister, though more likely to tweet about kittens".
MPs sent almost 2,500 tweets during one week in June, according to researchers, which would add up to 118,000 updates over a 48-week year. Assuming the average tweet takes 30 seconds to write, that would mean MPs are spending nearly 1,000 hours a year on the social networking website. Of course, they almost definitely spend a lot more time than that on the telephone, but who cares?
Westminsterpa.com director Olly Kendall said Twitter allowed MPs to interact with constituents and the press without spending hours on blogs and press releases. Twitter also lets MPs show voters how hard they are working by tweeting when they attend local events, he added.
I can just see John Prescott now, (Scotland's laziest MP) sitting at home in the bath tweeting all day... "at the Greenock village fete, cupcakes are lovely."
How many of these sorts of headlines will we have to see in print before social channels like Twitter are simply accepted as normal communication? Twitter is hardly revolutionary anymore, we get used to these things.
In the latest news, apparently Blackberry are to blame for facilitating the London riots. Can we blame British Telecom for facilitating Bush & Blair's war on terror while we're at it?
Perhaps MP's could utilise their awesome new social media tool to dissuade their angry constituents form taking out their aggression on the high street? It's bound to work...