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MPs Tweeting

Twitter – once solely the domain of hip digital types – is now getting under the fingertips of those who are the antithesis of cool: our very own MPs. Under the guise that ‘they’re human too’, the honourable members are tweeting about everything from their cats to Take That – with a few updates about their parliamentary duties thrown in for good measure.

Research undertaken by has found that the number of tweeting MPs has more than doubled from 111 in January 2010 to 275 today. All of this seems fine to me and I maintain a ‘if you don’t want to know what they’ve got to say, then don’t follow them’ attitude. But according to online forums, many members of the public are taking umbrage at this trend. They’re accusing MPs of wasting their time, not to mention the taxpayer’s money, and slating their tweets as fatuous, self-indulgent twaddle.

This does smack a little of criticism for the sake of it. Surely MPs getting in on the act reflects the general growth of Twitter? Maybe we could view their social media presence a bit more positively. After all, it provides a quick and easy way for us to contact them if we have a problem or query. It also brings them closer to their constituents and affords them new ways of engaging with the electorate.

Like most Twitter users, I enjoy tweeting about all sorts of things; however, my 297 followers expect nothing more from my tweets. Plus, as they’re not paying my wages, they don’t care how I spend my time.

That’s where the difference lies. While we don’t mind our MPs being on Twitter, we want to hear a bit more about the work they’re actually doing for us, and a bit less about their random interests. As long as their tweets stick broadly to informing, rather than attempting to entertain, we should all be happy.