UPDATE 2011: After reading below from March 2009, readers will want to read the article “Tweeter Culpa“ published on May 6, 2010. A mere year later.
Exhibit A:Derek Draper claims to be the most followed political Twitterer.
Exhibit B: Twitter is reality TV without the pictures. There is a combination of neurosis and narcissism involved. The psychologist Oliver James has said: “Twittering stems from a lack of identity. It’s a constant update of who you are, what you are, where you are. Nobody would Twitter if they had a strong sense of identity.”
Exhibit C: Twitter F2F ratios
John Prescott 1,410 Followers, 29 Following – 48.62
Iain Dale 2,499 Followers, 152 Following – 16.44
Tom Watson 2,518 Followers, 909 Following – 2.77
Alastair Campbell 2,567 Followers, 2,088 Following – 1.23
Derek Draper 2,918 Followers, 2,836 Following – 1.02
Look at those ratios, Prescott and Dale have healthy ratios, with a genuinely won following. Even so, following 152 other Twitterers is toppy for even always-connected Dale. Does Tom Watson really engage with 909 followers? Alastair Campbell and Derek Draper are obviously totally inauthentic spinners, they have merely followed thousands of people by deliberately Twitter-spamming Dale and Guido’s Twitter followers. Automatic reciprocation grew their following completely synthetically – the incredibly low ratio is the giveaway. Prescott hasn’t used artifice, his followers are genuinely interested because he is the real deal.Rachel Sylvester concluded that “At Westminster, [Twitter] is a symbol of a wider loss of confidence by the political class.” She has a point. Twitter is not a substitute for really engaging with people and winning them over. Political Twittering is merely a displacement activity for doing something more meaningful.