Could ‘Social Media Surgeries’ save politicians from Twitter hell?

Could ‘Social Media Surgeries’ save politicians from Twitter hell?

It’s looking like UK politicians arriving in Parliament later this year could be offered ‘Social Media Surgeries’ to give them a primer in how online social tools like Twitter are used.

The timing’s excellent. Today a Labour Party candidate in the upcoming General Election has been sacked over offensive remarks he had made about other party leaders and members of the public via his Twitter account.

Earlier this week the passing of the controversial Digital Economy Bill led many to accuse MPs of being out of touch with the online world.

The man with a plan to inject a bit more web-savvy into the political world is John Popham, who has experience of running ‘surgeries‘ in Leeds that help community and voluntary groups get the most out of social media. Earlier today he suggested on Twitter: “Obvious from #debill debate that most politicians don’t get the Internet, so can a Parliamentary Social Media Surgery happen?”

Labour MP Tom Watson quickly endorsed the idea, offering to help set them up. Watson is one of the few MPs who spoke out against the rushed nature of the Digital Economy Bill and is heavy user of Twitter. It looks like the MP surgeries would follow Podnosh’s recipe for a Social Media Surgery.

Given the importance of social media, we think this is an excellent idea. All politicians should be aware of social media and use it to improve communication with their constituents. If they get some ‘web smarts’ they might even realise that they shouldn’t have have voted for the Digital Economy Bill as it was, too.

[Image credit: Karrackoo via Wikipedia]

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