Tuesday, 3 March 2009

To Tweet or not to Tweet

Typed copy reads: Regarding Twitter, I believe it is an excellent way to engage with the public however I receive approximately 200 pieces of correspondence from constituents a week and I feel that my time is best spent responding to their queries and concerns.

So don't get me wrong, I think my MP is great, I mean I really do like and respect her, and in this day and age it's fantastic to get a handwritten reply on quality paper (with matching envelope), and for it to feel like a personal message, which this did.

What I find interesting is the sentiment that Twitter is just a fad, and the job of 'engaging with the public' is secondary to answering their queries and concerns. Many of these queries and concerns from constituents will of course be serious minded and have a personal context but could it not be that using twitter to inform and engage constituents (or at least those interested enough to follow) could perhaps also prove preventative and reduce the need to mail out some of those queries and concerns in the first place. 

Let's say in the case of a planning application, or a local eduction issue, a Twitter group on that specific issue could inform, update, direct and answer many questions, and at the same time leave constituents feeling that they were actively given the information rather than having to go out and search for it, wouldn't that be progress of a kind. Twitter is by no means the answer to everything, but surely there are lots of ways in which twitter = community, and politics = community, so surely the two should coexist rather than compete.

And the real benefit of twitter of course is that there's a 100% guarantee of never mis-spelling someone's name when you do reply. Oops. 

(the plaster didn't come with the letter, that was all me)

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