MPs and Twitter

Stuff reports:

Embattled justice minister Judith Collins is abandoning Twitter, 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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