Michael Fabricant’s Twitter – what’s the point?

Michael Fabricant MP

Michael Fabricant MP

Now I’m no Bill Shakespeare, but I’d like to think my Twitter page has a point and some (occasionally useful) chat. Michael Fabricant’s on the other hand… I’ll let you decide.

I think it’s well done to Lichfield’s favourite hair-do for getting with the times and trying to engage with his constituents in new and diverse ways. But therein lies the problem. His Twitter page doesn’t seem to be anything other than the random thoughts of the man himself.

Twitter is a social media and social it should be. It’s enabled this blog to move from strength to strength for one.

A colleague of mine once discussed the key to social networking as being “social currency” – ie, giving some discussion out to get something back and I’ve certainly found that to be the case.

But in our MP’s case we just have a series of random thoughts which don’t seem to serve a purpose other than to provide the Lichfield Mercury with the odd story.

So come on, Mike, start interacting. Three hundred and eight of us follow you but you follow just four folks. Start giving us something and we’ll give you something back, most likely on polling day.

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Founder of LichfieldLive and editor of the site.

19 Comments

  1. Nick B

    27th February, 2009 at 5:59 pm

    Just received a response from the main man himself,
    “Interesting. I am not sure what Twitter is all about really in the sense that I don’t know who is following me on it and I can’t keep interacting – I have a job to do! I regard Facebook as far more important.”

    Well there you have it!

  2. Phil

    27th February, 2009 at 6:16 pm

    A Twitter purist (if such a thing exists) might say that he is using Twitter exactly how it was intended – to update your followers on what he’s doing.

    I can understand his concerns about getting his work done. I was swamped a few weeks ago and had to do a cull to get rid of anybody I was following that didn’t add significant value.

    It’s been said many times that everybody uses Twitter in different ways, here’s another example.

  3. Sammy J

    27th February, 2009 at 8:11 pm

    Glad to see Michael’s engaging with his constituents (all my gentle push was intended to do). I just think that as a politician he has more of a duty than any of us to communicate.

    And, yes, I agree he’s got time constraints, but it’s best for him to follow surely given that when he does have time he can get a feel for how constituents – many of whom he wouldn’t be able to interact with in a ‘normal’ way – are feeling.

    Perhaps he might like to guest blog from time to time?! ;o)

  4. steph

    27th February, 2009 at 11:18 pm

    Yes but does he really want/have time to read about smelly cheese and what shoes i wanted to wear today but couldn’t because it was too cold? Is he really getting a view on his constituents?

    I don’t follow many people because i don’t want to have to sit and read hundreds of tweets everyday; presumably Michael Fabricant was also just following the people he himself was interested in. And partly why i like following Michael Fabricant is because he doesn’t update very often.

  5. Phil

    27th February, 2009 at 11:58 pm

    Following everyone who follows him or who lives in Lichfield will be more likely to just overload his Twitterstream and give him more to read when only a small proportion is of any value to him.

    Instead, raising awareness of his presence on Twitter will encourage people to @reply him and he can respond. Like Steph says he doesn’t want to hear about our wardrobe dilemmas and eating habits.

    He can easily track keywords like “Lichfield” too, to make sure he catches important stuff. I’ve offered to sit down with him and show him how he could use Twitter more efficiently/effectively. Let’s see if he takes up the offer…

  6. Michael Fabricant

    28th February, 2009 at 10:17 am

    Look, I am sorry about this but I just don’t get Twitter! Stephen Fry follows over 54,000 tweeters. How can that be? How does he find the time to click on 54,000 individual names in the first place to follow them and how can he possibly read them? The answer is: he doesn’t; he can’t!

    Most of the tweets I am receiving are random observations and being constrained to just 140 words is pretty limiting.

    If you want to interact with me, do it on Facebook – a much better forum I believe. Anyway, I enjoy Facebook and it seems to work for me!

    And I am not a thick skinned politico! I DO want to react with my lovely Lichfield, but I am rapidly coming to the conclusion that Twitter isn’t the answer. (And to knock me because I don’t have the time all day to read hundreds of tweets unlike you sums up the difference between your life and mine. So there!)

  7. Michael Fabricant

    28th February, 2009 at 10:17 am

    I meant ‘140 letters’ !!!

  8. Nick B

    28th February, 2009 at 11:20 am

    Ouch.

  9. emma

    1st March, 2009 at 7:58 pm

    Mr Fabricant,
    If thats the way you deal with one of your constituents by basically saying that their lives are nothing compared to yours, then its no wonder people have the opinions they do about you!

  10. Sammy J

    1st March, 2009 at 10:26 pm

    Thanks for coming and joining the fun (hope you’ll stick around and keep us abreast of the latest from our man in the Commons).

    I have no issue with you not thinking Twitter is the way (I did, after all, commend you for trying). I was merely offering a suggestion as to how you might better use it. You don’t have to read all the people all the time, it just might be a useful tool when you do need to gauge the public. After all, aren’t younger voters (who will be more inclined to use Twitter), the hardest to interact with?

    And as for the ‘says more about your life than mine’ comment, it smacks a little bit of ‘yeah, I know you are’ from the playground. But hey, some of us can let criticism wash over us and interact with it in an adult manner. I just hope you ‘have time’ to speak to people when you need their votes.

  11. Michael Fabricant

    4th March, 2009 at 6:33 pm

    Ooops. I am not saying I am better or less than anyone emma. All I am saying is I don’t have the time to read loads of tweets. Fact. But that’s the way it is. But as anyone will tell you who has written to me with a problem, me and my team deal with it thoroughly. That’s what I am here for.

    Now, How do I get my picture on these comments?????

  12. Sammy J

    4th March, 2009 at 7:50 pm

    Easy way to get a pic – just create a WordPress account and log in before commenting.

    Or you could register for this blog and keep us updated direct…

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  14. deepinder

    8th March, 2009 at 1:24 am

    The Tories are not so much a political party, but are in fact a species.

    I would have emphasised the last word in italics, but I dunno how to do it.

  15. Michael Fabricant

    8th March, 2009 at 10:25 am

    How do I register for this blog?? I haven’t spotted any link or instruction on how to register.

  16. Sammy J

    8th March, 2009 at 5:24 pm

    Mr Fabricant – You can find a register link in the menu on the right (Meta). If you wish to make posts or wriite articles let me know and I’ll give you author status. Thanks.

    Deepinder – Please remember this is a site about Lichfield, not general politics.

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