MPs and Twitter

May 6th, 2014 at 3:00 pm by David Farrar

Stuff reports:

Embattled justice minister Judith Collins is abandoning , and Prime Minister John Key says he backs her decision because it’s full of “trolls and bottom feeders”.

Key said he had not given Collins an edict to stay off social media and it was her idea to remove herself from the twittersphere.

“She’s volunteered. She’s said to me I’m going to stay off,” Key said.

“My view is there’s a lot of trolls and bottom feeders on that and in the end they get in people’s head. It’s an anonymous situation it’s a form of cyber bullying, I don’t engage in that.”

I think that is an unduly negative view of Twitter.

Yes there are trolls out there. Lots of them. But you don’t have to respond to them, and/or you can always block them.

There are also lots of journalists, commentators, and political activists out there who are worth engaging with.

While there is a balance to be achieved, I think it is good for MPs to use Twitter to engage, not just broadcast. Steven Joyce does that for example, as does Russel Norman.

And for what its worth, I think generally Judith’s engagement on Twitter has been productive, useful and amusing. Obviously excluding the Katie Bradford tweet.

Abandoning Twitter to Labour and Green MPs is not a great social media strategy – for my 2c.

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29 Responses to “MPs and Twitter”

  1. Ashley Schaeffer (413 comments) says:

    Wise move by Collins. Key is quite correct.

    But I also take your point about letting the Left dominate social media. There are some trolls and bottom feeders that can’t be ignored.

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  2. igm (1,413 comments) says:

    When are we going to hear who the two donors to Cunliffe’s leadership debacle were? It seems MSM are not interested in this nor the fact he lied to young Labourites regarding war service and decorations. Why are they continuing on this PSA/Goff attempt to discredit Collins. If I were the PM, I would rid the country of at least 75% of the remaining union-indoctrinated MFAT bludgers. The worst of this affair is the deadbeat fat fairy trying to get a few brownie points (excuse the pun), to take on “Tojo” after he fails in November.

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  3. YesWeDid (1,029 comments) says:

    ‘I think generally Judith’s engagement on Twitter has been productive, useful and amusing.’

    Is ‘amusing’ your word for abrasive, condensing and bullying?

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  4. Nuwanda (83 comments) says:

    Twitter is obviously a valuable tool. It is what it is.

    What’s damning is that a Minister of the Crown has to remove herself from it because–and this is the strong implication of the post–she can’t control herself.

    Twitter doesn’t require anything from you and it doesn’t force you to tweet, re-tweet or otherwise engage with anyone else. Isn’t the Minister responsible enough to tweet what’s important and disregard the rest?

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  5. Redbaiter (7,643 comments) says:

    “Bullying”

    You idiot.

    Anyone can partake of twitter conversation if they want to or not if they don’t want.

    They can also block anyone they find “offensive”.

    The essence of bullying is that the victim is trapped and at the mercy of the bully.

    You are just using the word as all of the left use it, as a means to excuse themselves from the contempt and disdain they are really due.

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  6. Nukuleka (217 comments) says:

    What the hell is TWITTER?

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  7. tvb (4,210 comments) says:

    Unfortunately the Minister got caught up with the trolls who inhabit twitter. She is a confrontational person and does not like to avoid a fight. Twitter does not seem to suit the Minister as she has realised and she therefore turns the other cheek. In Parliament today she took a very low key non confrontational approach to her answers and was far more effective. The opposition were not really able to score any goals. I guess a good fight is good entertainment and Judith Collins can give as good as she gets but it was not doing her any favours. Somer people get caught up with the weird cyber world of twitter. Charlotte Dawson springs to mind. If it is dominating your world get rid of it. Use it as a bulletin board, not a place to chat in.

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  8. thedavincimode (6,539 comments) says:

    Dear oh dear. The bottom line here is that she can dish it but she can’t take it and is prone to descending into a redtweeterish melt down when the going gets tough.

    She has now single-handedly demolished any aspirations she might have had of leadership on two counts. Arrogance and stupidity in not grasping the fact that irrespective of whether she is in the right over the cup of milk business, she should have known better given the potential political consequences. And now the melt down. I’ve never thought she was a serious leadership contender because of her inability to conceal the undercurrent of arrogance that frequently bubbles at the surface, but I had not ever expected that she would turn herself into damaged goods through the type of behaviour we have seen recently. A pity when one considers the very good work she has done in her 5 1/2 years as a minister.

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  9. xy (152 comments) says:

    Blaming twitter’s a pretty good distraction from the whole ‘lied to parliament’ thing.

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  10. Manolo (13,396 comments) says:

    We are well and truly fucked if the political battle is won (or lost) on Twitter.
    Please confine your inanities to 120 or so characters. Jeepers.

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  11. thedavincimode (6,539 comments) says:

    Manolo

    There is a porcine sweaty immigrant who is trying to secure his freedom on that very battle ground.

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  12. tvb (4,210 comments) says:

    I believe the Minister now gets it and is much more effective. She has shown some contrition. She has apologised, eaten some humble pie and the whole fuss is dying down. I just wished she took this approach right from the start. Getting angry and arrogant shows a defensiveness which only encourages her opponents more and more. This micro scandal went on and on because of the Ministers’ personality. I though she was very effective today. She was humble but not defensive. Getting angry is merely a disguise for defensiveness and only encourages your opponents more. I think Judith Collins gets that now.

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  13. Sir Cullen's Sidekick (789 comments) says:

    Watched the whole question time. Nothing happened as per the left leaning media projections. John Key managed to land a few blows on Cunliffe on his secret trusts and Bill English ate the stupid Parker for breakfast. Mallard got kicked out and Judith answered the questions. I think the question session would have been a great disappointment for resident commies Corin Dann and Paddy Gower.

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  14. Paulus (2,503 comments) says:

    Cannot see the need for Facebook or Twitter.
    Dangerous tools of the owners.
    I am not interested in them knowing what I think or do.

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  15. RightNow (6,676 comments) says:

    “Abandoning Twitter to Labour and Green MPs is not a great social media strategy – for my 2c.”

    Twitter is hugely overestimated as a means to reach potential voters(/consumers) – my 2c

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  16. RJL (145 comments) says:

    If Collins can’t be trusted to handle Twitter like an adult, how can she possibly be fit to be a Minister?

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  17. llew (1,533 comments) says:

    I presume the PM told HER to stop trolling.

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  18. gump (1,491 comments) says:

    It’s funny to see a Minister being told what she has to do.

    She’s a good politician but I think she’s too brittle to be an effective leader.

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  19. gump (1,491 comments) says:

    @Redbaiter

    “The essence of bullying is that the victim is trapped and at the mercy of the bully.”

    ——————

    No – that is not the essence of bullying. One does not have to be trapped to be the victim of a bully.

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  20. Floyd60 (87 comments) says:

    Collins does need to avoid Twitter. She came very close to revealing her true self. This is not what John and Steven need right now. They do need to consider the potential for her to damage the brand in the run up to the election – particularly in the preceding two weeks.

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  21. David Garrett (6,463 comments) says:

    tvb: well said….and as someone else said the other day, what do the first four letters in “twitter” spell?

    To me – a sufferer from COMS – it is just another example of the banalization of society in general…Winston Churchill might have been able to tweet successfully (“A very modest man with much to be modest about”) lesser beings…can’t and shouldnt. Down that path be dragons.

    Russell old fruit! You are back…Did they ban you or did you just decide this was your spiritual home??

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  22. Francis_X (149 comments) says:

    What’s that old expression? Kitchen… heat… stay the fuck out?

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  23. itstricky (1,579 comments) says:

    John Key managed to land a few blows on Cunliffe

    I think you must be employing your piss take personality again.

    National have a minister gone and another teetering on the edge. And all Key could repeat was “Shane Jones” “Shane Jones” “Shane Jones” – it was pretty pathetic school boy stuff – when backed into a corner hurl random abuse that has nothing to do with the question. He’s far from what he’s cracked up to be.

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  24. shortstorychick (1 comment) says:

    I am on Twitter and I do ‘tweet’ but you have to wade through an awful lot of rubbish to get to the ‘good stuff’.

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  25. Judith (7,686 comments) says:

    Any political party has to be astute enough to capture their audiences (electorates) attention.

    Whilst some of the younger MP’s may be able to successfully manage to ‘tweet’ and impress, an older senior MP needs to act within their age range, and do what it takes to impress similar ages.

    I doubt their are many baby boomers that would be impressed with Twitter being a form of communication by Collins or any MP – however, for younger generations its a good way to capture them (but only if you are within the same generation).

    ‘Old farts’ trying to be cool with new technology NEVER goes down well – many of us can’t even determine the txt language, let alone capture the meaning behind them.

    And please – people above 50 doing a selfie is just plain sad.

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  26. itstricky (1,579 comments) says:

    Yep, with an alteration:

    And please – people above 50 doing a selfie is just plain sad.

    People of any age doing a selfie is just plain sad.

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  27. Bob R (1,340 comments) says:

    *** it’s full of “trolls and bottom feeders”.***

    So is the electorate :)

    I thought Collins’ (and other politicians) use of twitter was generally a good thing.

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  28. EAD (627 comments) says:

    @ David Garret – I enjoyed that modesty quote!

    The NZ Fake news companies love Twitter because they use any random tweet from someone famous to segway into a topic they want to become “news”. Any agenda they want moved to the forefront can now become news if some B level washed up “celeb” tweets about it or posts it on their stupid Facebook.

    I’m generation X and I still can’t understand why people want to spend endless hours reading the random, narcisstic thoughts of so-called celebrities – every passing random braindeadening thought morons around the world fart out onto a global kiosk?

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  29. Paulus (2,503 comments) says:

    If any success can be achieved by Robertson and Peters, who are really both afraid of Collins, is that they have created some damage to roll her away from the National Party succession.

    But be careful what you wish for.

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