At the moment number 10 is using it predominantly as a means to feed us links to press releases plus the odd Youtube film. Very good.
Within less than 24 hours 178 people were following the updates and very sociably the Prime Minister’s Office has begun following fellow twitterers. Sorry if we’re a bit loud.
Simon Dickinson was very fast to blog it, as was Paul Bradshaw who treated it as a tweeting and blogging news exercise. Marshall Manson and Stuart Bruce wondered if this is the first Prime Minister(s office) on Twitter. If this is true it doesn’t seemed to have interested Twitter on their blog but has raised eyebrows in Holland, The US and Spain. Shane Richmond is sceptical about its true value, Steve Clayton treats it as a bit of fun while Matt Wardman has started laying claim all sorts of other twtiter/govt feed names.
This is not the first time the UK Government has ventured onto twitter.
I’ve been following HMGOV for a week or two now. Again it is quite literally a feed of news (as HMGOV sees news). What is interesting is that so far it has only attracted myself and 12 other followers (as I took that grab earlier today).
So what is going on?
Does being a top 100 follower give access to power? Glib I know but there was no equivalent rush to follow HMGOV. (Update – his was set up on the personal initiative of Justin as a personal tool for tracking news updates using twitter)
It is clear that Downing Street is potentially much more influential than a news feed from something called HMGOV (which doesn’t even have a link to a home page) and the social web is partly about patronage, attaching oneself to those with greatest/most useful influence. This is echoed by the fact that celebrities will often have the most ‘friends’ on any social network.
Is it also a minor indicator of how the web is essentially personal? Following HMGOV is like befriending the NHS – amorphous and meaningless. DowningStreet is smaller and one can imagine (just) that a known individual (called Gordon Brown) might see or even feed the feed from time to time. However I think the account might build more enduring relationships if it had a name behind it and not Gordon’s because that isn’t credible.
What other questions does this throw up:
- How do senior government figures use patronage as they extend their professional social networks online and will it differ from how they act in other networks?
How far will their feeds, blogs, social network profiles attract such large audiences that they diminish the influence of mainstream media?
Any answers? Any other Questions?