A while back, Mark Pack wrote a couple of articles noting that if MPs were worried about breaking election campaign rules by running a Twitter account with the letters MP in it, they probably needn’t be. The authorities tended to be ‘sensibly flexible’; and besides, it was dead easy to change your Twitter account name. In the piece which appeared on LibDem Voice, I commented:
But is there a risk that someone grabs your temporarily vacated username? I can’t see anything in the Twitter documentation to suggest there’s a ‘grace period’ between one person giving up a username, and someone else claiming it… as is often the case, say, with domain names.
Funny I should ask. Last week, colourful Conservative MP Nadine Dorries changed her Twitter name to ‘Nadine4MP’, apparently following Tom Harris’s lead. But somebody swiftly jumped in, and bagged the newly vacated NadineDorriesMP identity. Tim Ireland at Bloggerheads.com insists it wasn’t him, and has done some further digging into who it might have been. The account is currently reporting ‘that page doesn’t exist’. Accusations and conspiracy theories are flying.
Yes, if you leave your main MP-labelled account dormant for a few weeks and switch to a new non-MP-labelled account, you’ll lose a good few followers. But to be honest, if they don’t follow you to your new location, they weren’t following you very closely, were they?
Instead, where are we? No1 result from a Google search for ‘nadine dorries twitter’, and in the top 10 for plain ‘nadine dorries’, is the vacated, possibly hijacked, currently defunct @NadineDorriesMP account page. And this on the evening when said Ms Dorries is getting primetime terrestrial TV exposure for an hour.
You have been warned. Again. 🙂