MPs in Commons Tweet Speaker Results

23 06 2009

The results of the House of Commons Speaker elections last night were delivered live via twitter throughout the evening.  At every voting round the results were posted live on Twitter within seconds of being announced to MPs. 

This was made possible because many of the MPs were doing the posting themselves, apparently live from the floor of the House.

Possibly the first to announce the result was Liberal Democrat MP for East Dunbartonshire Jo Swinson, who earlier in the evening revealed who she was voting for in the supposed secret ballot.  Both Tom Watson MP and Jim Knight MP leaked the unofficial result five minutes before it was announced to MPs.  Whilst the voting figures they gave were wide of the mark, they both had the winner right, meaning for the first time ever ordinary voters had the result before many MPs.

The rapidly increasing number of MPs now microblogging (sometimes from inside the chamber) is potentially far more significant for the House than the appointment of John Bercow MP as a radical reforming Speaker.





McBride & Draper: New Media, Old School

14 04 2009

A month ago I wrote a piece on this blog about Derek Draper and how unsuited I thought he was to lead Labour’s social media campaigns.  I pointed out that he had recently been suspended from the social network de jour – ‘twitter’.   

Little did I know what I had unleashed.  Derek blogged about me using false quotes and misrepresenting my recently published book.  He e-mailed me stating “your legal threats are pathetic,  i can – and will – pour a bucket of shit over anyone’s head who has tried to do the same to me” (sic).  He later the same day emailed many of my colleagues and others in the PR industry with links to his “satirical” blog post.

This was very small beer in comparison to what was in the pipeline for the proposed ‘Red Rag’ site.  Derek Draper and Damian McBride are of the old school ‘command and control’  approach to political media management.   They just don’t get the openness that the social web brings with it.  If you deceive or intimidate there is every chance that it will be made public.  The Guido Fawkes Order Order blog that they appear to want to emulate is anti-government and you just can’t replicate that if you represent the government.

Also of the old school is Tom Watson, the Cabinet Office Minister with overall responsibility for ‘digital engagement’.  The debate rages still as to whether he knew about ‘Red Rag’ but if it had reached the stage where content suggestions were being made by one of his charges then he should have.  The point is quite simple; like Draper and McBride he doesn’t understand the implications for open and transparent politics that come with citizen media.  If you don’t get it, you can’t run it.








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