British MPs `spend 1,000 hours a year on Twitter`

Last Updated: Sunday, July 31, 2011 - 10:28

London: British MPs seem to be going gaga over `Twitter` -- they are spending 1,000 hours a year on the micro-blogging site, and posting some 2,500 tweets in one week, a new research has revealed.

The MPs send messages about cats, squidgy cake and Take That. And sometimes about politics.

In fact, the number of MPs tweeting - sending messages of 140 characters or fewer - has more than doubled from 111 in January 2010 to 275 today, and is expected to go on rising as more politicians sign up, `The Daily Telegraph` reported.

Keen tweeters include Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg and Labour leader Ed Miliband.

But David Cameron, the Prime Minister is famously anti-Twitter, after provoking controversy in 2009 when he said during a radio interview: "The trouble with Twitter, the
instantness of it -- too many twits might make a ---."

The Tories have the highest number, but the lowest proportion of MPs on Twitter - 110 out of 305, or 36 per cent.

The Lib Democrats, by contrast, have the lowest number but the highest proportion of MPs on the site, with 57 out of 100, or 57 per cent. Labour has 122 out of its 255 members tweeting, 47 per cent, according to the research.

The research, conducted by westminsterpa.com, a political lobbying firm, said tweeting MPs fell into two camps-- the "lurkers", who tweet only occasionally, and the
"obsessives".

Charles Kennedy, former Lib Dem leader, who has posted just eight updates this year, is a "lurker", while the "obsessives" include Gavin Shuker, the Labour MP for Luton South, who posted 17 times in one day last month.

The researchers found that in a single week when Parliament was sitting during June, MPs sent almost 2,500 messages on Twitter, equivalent to 118,000 messages over the
course of a (48-week) year.

With each tweet assumed to take 30 seconds to compose, the researchers concluded that MPs are spending almost 1,000 hours a year posting updates.

Olly Kendall, director of westminsterpa.com, said MPs were using Twitter to "reveal a more personal side to their followers" rather than simply to "parrot political messages".

PTI



First Published: Sunday, July 31, 2011 - 10:28

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