First MP on Twitter (?)

LibDem MP for Hornsey & Wood Green, Lynne Featherstone was one of the first MPs to start blogging, back in October 2003; she now reckons she’s the first MP to start Twittering, having tweeted (?) for the first time this morning. You’ll find her at twitter.com/lfeatherstone.

Of course, it all depends on your definitions. As Stuart Bruce will testify, Alan Johnson’s (ultimately unsuccessful) campaign for Labour’s deputy leadership used Twitter although never strictly for MP-related business; and someone has posted a few tweets under the account ‘GordonBrown‘ – one or two of which, I have to say, made me laugh out loud.  Plus our own Justin Kerr-Stevens has dragged a few ministerial statements into the Twitterverse by proxy, courtesy of his twitter.com/hmgov RSS mashup.

Twitter seems to be everywhere suddenly, just at the moment where Facebook (for me at least) has gone deathly quiet. Hitwise analyst Robin Goad presents plenty of data on the supposed slowdown of Facebook’s stellar growth in the UK, but doesn’t attempt to draw a definitive conclusion.

The points I made in a piece back in January seem just as valid now, and I’m seeing a lot of people making the same switch from Facebook to Twitter. It actually came as a bit of a shock when I spotted just how many friends and contacts were following my Twitter updates, especially when I’d done nothing to promote their existence.

Organisations would do well to look at how Twitter can slot into their online comms approach. It could be as simple as a sequence of ‘new news release’ alerts to a specific Twitter account. Not strictly in keeping with the medium’s personality, but better than nothing. And anyway, if it’s a well written news release, the first sentence should stand alone as a summary – and should therefore be perfect as a ‘tweet’.

Insanely late update: just for the record, it looks like Lynne was actually beaten by Tory MP Grant Shapps. Lynne joined on 22 March; Grant joined a fortnight earlier.

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