by Stephen Tall on July 31, 2011
The list looks not at number of followers, but at the volume of tweets each MP has sent out. Heading the list is Labour’s Kerry McCarthy with well over 27,000 tweets. Cambridge’s Lib Dem MP Julian Huppert — elected to Parliament just last year — comes in at number six, having sent over 10,000 tweets, and now with over 4,000 followers.
The report notes that tweeting MPs fall into two categories: ‘obsessives’, who tweet all the time; and ‘lurkers’ who tweet only occasionally. (In fact that binary definition is pretty much true of everyone on Twitter.) While Dr Huppert is located firmly in the first camp, former party leader Charles Kennedy is an example of the latter, managing eight tweets so far this year.
And indeed it’s one of Mr Kennedy’s former staffers — Olly Kendall — who is quoted in the paper:
Last night, Olly Kendall, director of Westminster Public Affairs, said tweeting helped MPs ‘humanise’ themselves. ‘Some of the unguarded moments of honesty reveal a side to them that most people don’t usually see – humorous, self-deprecating and down-right ordinary.’ Mr Kendall added: ‘The savvy MPs use Twitter not just to propagate party spin but to engage in an honest and open dialogue and to let constituents get to know them as people as well as for their political views.’
Prize for the stupidest comment goes to Tory MP Brian Binley, labelled ‘a committed non-tweeter’, who says:
‘I just cannot see the point. I’ve never had a constituent come to me and say, “Why aren’t you blogging or tweeting?”’
I wonder how many constituents have asked Mr Binley to stick political leaflets through their door? I suspect few if any; but I imagine he does it anyway (at least at election times) because it’s an important way of keeping in touch. That he appears not to want to communicate with constituents or the public via social media says more abut Mr Binley than it does about Twitter.