I’ve written a very short piece for first magazine on my use of Twitter. They are doing a feature on councillors using social media and asked me for a short contribution on Twitter, which I’ve pasted below.
(If you want to follow me on Twitter just go to my Twitter page and click follow. It really is worthwhile, and if you want a helping hand just send me a message.)
Twitter is often portrayed in the media as a festival of celebrity banality but it is a valuable medium, where diverse people congregate, contribute and discuss. I first became aware of its power through Twitter conversations about local government engagement, and from there is was an obvious step to use it as a councillor.
My approach, in short, has been to ‘be human’. I use my personal account and try to avoid too much about the Town Hall, which I suspect even I would find dull. Instead I try to make my Tweets either encourage discussion or be informative, but that doesn’t stop me discussing TV or celebrating my team’s rare wins.
What is surprising is not just how many local people were Tweeting, but how many were eager to engage and use Twitter to communicate with their councillor. While I often sit in a draughty library with no-one attending my surgery it is quite the reverse in the Twitterverse where people are keen to ask questions or air local issues with me. In the past week alone parks, parking, traffic, policing and business issues have all been raised with me via Twitter.
Like any dialogue, you get out what you put in. For me, Twitter has been incredibly rewarding.