Wednesday, May 21, 2014
To Tweet or not to Tweet
Twitter is adding an element to the 2014 election that did not exist in past elections. The expansion of social media and the influence of blogs has continued from 2011 and although Twitter did exist then it has moved to a much more prominent position.
No Right Turn argues that it is a legitimate and useful form of communication that shouldn't be banned from the Debating Chamber as it allows the MPs to let off steam without disrupting the order of the House and provides the public with useful insights into personalities of our MPs.
Bryce Edwards regularly reproduces tweets to provide an overview of responses to a particular issue or event and Twitter followers can get instant feedback as events unfold.
There are traps for the unwary, however, as the instantaneous nature of tweeting can lead to impulsive, ill-considered messages that have a longer life than intended and can reflect badly on the tweeter. Jan Logie quickly found that her unfortunate attempt at word play had far reaching consequences that she never intended and resulted in a public apology. To her credit she ignored the temptation to point the finger at opposition MPs who had also used tweets to attack others, and just took responsibility for her own misjudgment.
John Key's attempt to label the Greens as the "Nasty Party" will probably not stick as the Greens rarely engage in the abuse and interjections that generally occur during Question Time and the personal attack on Metiria early in the year made a lasting impression on many.
What I do enjoy about tweeting is the need for brevity, the 140 character limit forces our politicians to convey their thoughts concisely and strips away all the usual rhetoric. It also encourages the use of humour and celebrates the one-liner.
While tweeting does add a valuable element to political discourse, those participating need to always take a little time to consider the possible ramifications of a rush of blood to the head and pressing send too quickly.