Tories hit Twitter; where's Labour?

It really is Twitter week in Westminster. Barely ten days after the first MP began tweeting, and only a week after Number 10, the @Conservatives have launched an official channel – although so far, it’s precisely the one-way Twitterfeed-powered channel we all expected @DowningStreet to be (but wasn’t).
Likely to be more interesting is @conhome, the Twitter feed of the influential ConservativeHome website. It’s being written as a joint effort by the look of it, with identified authors: not a normal way to run a Twitter channel, but more likely to generate two-way tweeting, I guess.
Meanwhile there’s no stopping LibDem Lynne Featherstone, who started all this: she’s even been tweeting from the benches of the House of Commons chamber. And of course, her LibDem mates first tweeted back in May 2007, with an experimental election night service. The account is still active, with occasional alerts.
All of which brings us back to the age-old question of the Labour Party‘s general underperformance in new media. @Labour does exist, but it’s the Irish Labour Party. I’ve guessed at a bunch of possible Twitter IDs which Labour HQ might use; and all are still coming up as unregistered. Hey, even a basic Twitterfeed-powered channel would be a sensible starting point, and a defensive claim of the best ID.

BREAKING NEWS: Looks like there’s movement on the Twitter front. @uklabour is now pumping out Twitterfeed-powered updates from various sources. Thanks to Paul in the comments (below).

Instead, Labour seems to have been putting its efforts into a special homepage for its local election efforts. It has a campaign blog whose RSS feed doesn’t know what character set it’s sending, and thinks an appropriate story description is the first four words. There’s a box to make an online donation, which asks for your name and a donation amount, then seems to do nothing sensible with them. It’s terrible.

No10 now on Twitter

There isn’t much to see there yet, but 10 Downing Street has just opened an official Twitter account. Like a lot of corporate presences, it’s based – in these initial stages at least – on their existing RSS output, and the free Twitterfeed web service. But I had a very interesting chat this afternoon with No10’s new head of digital… and he’s eagerly exploring what they might do next.
Just as interesting: I think I ‘broke the story’ when I mentioned it to my own (relatively) select band of Twitter contacts. I was subscriber no3. Two hours later, we’re up to 23. Word travels fast.