How do politicians use Twitter?

I love Tweetminster. Apart from it being hilarious to hear the charming Andrew Walker @killdozer interviewing the “great” and the “good” at the party conferences using audioboo, it’s an illuminating service that endeavours to democratise the political scene. And following on from the ’80% of people use Twitter to self promote’ statistic from this US research study it’s ideal for the self-centric politician to get their message across. And for us to wryly smile at their foolishness.

Alex Bogusky seems to agree with me

“The question for creative agencies is whether they can wake up, react to what’s going on, engage the crowd, and make themselves a part of the new reality.” So says Jon Winsor (Crispin Porter’s innovation guy) in Business Week, and Alex Bogusky on his blog this last week. Crowdsourcing is on the increase, but it’s no longer a fashionable or trendy business idea. It’s a real model for customer engagement. And the pressure is on creative industries to work out how to manage it.

The oft quoted Dell IdeasStorm and My Starbucks Idea are great examples of endeavour to gain customer approval, but how many of the ideas suggested actually got produced or implemented? Not very many, is the answer. And the reason? It’s pretty tough to review 7000 ideas. The next wave of crowdsource business model will see crowdsourcing gatekeepers emerge.Watch this space people. Participation marketing is a reality.

Digital Britannica

Today at 4pm would be a good time to bury bad news in the media sector, says this tweet. ITV isn’t recomissioning Primeval, that weird ‘lads and dads’ show featuring rather dangerous looking overgrown turkey chicks. ITN is doomed. Channel 4 will merge with ‘a bit’ of the BBC. 3000 BBC staff to go. Channel 5 will er, be replaced by 1Extra.

That’s because today’s the day that Lord Carter releases an eagerly anticipated (in the media at least) report on Digital Britain. There were many action point included in the interim report, including UK content for UK users, next generation infrastructure, access for all, copyright and so on, each of which exercises the various affected industries with a red hot poker. Back on January, there was a little bit of ’19th century protectionism for 20th century businesses that have no intrinsic right to success int he 21st century’ going on. <cue endless discussion about the future of journalism>

One industry which deserves a little airtime is the ‘creative sector’. Another is the software sector. Now the financial services business in the UK is in meltdown, UK government needs to find economic prods that can create economic wealth. The creative and software industries are inextricably linked in a digital economy.  Where’s the UK software industry in all of this? Where’s the next Google, Microsoft or Twitter application being developed? I’d like to see more support for British businesses that are building future businesses. The fact that I’m posting this on software developed in the US, on a computer designed in the US, built in the far east, talking about a microblogging habit orginating in the US, must tell us something.

Julie Burchill can’t text. And thinks Twitter is for boring twats.

Yesterday was Ada Lovelace day. Thousands of bloggers celebrated the world’s first lady programmer. Today’s bitter morning after pill is Julie Burchill in the Sun slagging off anyone who pumps driveling status updates on tweetdeck into the unlistening, uncaring ether.

Have you heard of Ada Lovelace? She was Byron’s daughter and worked briefly with Charles Babbage on the Analytical Engine project in the 19th Century. The first Girl Geek. Those personal reflections amongst the bloggerati, twitterati and digerati on how there should be more inspirational heroines are great, and can be seen here on a neat map, too.

There’s no question that men tend to dominate the workforce of the more technical end of the business, as anyone who wandered into an engineering faculty at university can testify. But this speaks to a broader issue with science and education, and a bias that kicks in at secondary and higher education levels. Society too easily parses out the artists from the scientists. Now that being a geek is cool, geek girls are cooler. And geeky girls are getting famous, and it’s a natural step for anyone who ‘networks’ easily to migrate to Twitter where small talk skill (‘chatting’) matters.

Peaches Geldof [@peaches_g]  knows that being talked about is what matters to her future lucrative column inches, so she tweets, sometimes incomprehensibly about dashing off to write up some piece for some celeb rag. On the other hand, Julie Burchill proudly proclaims that she has no mobile phone. And that anyone who twitters is a boring twat. There are of course enormous amounts of inane private thoughts and status updates out there, but the old unfollow button applies in twitterville just as it does anywhere else.

Rather like thinking before speaking, I prefer tweets that have been thought about for a second longer before being sent.  But the fact that humankind is so capable of making social signals, and we can speak succinctly to a following of people we know and nosey people we don’t is all rather fascinating, don’t you think? I bet Lord Byron, Ada Lovelace’s dad, would have relished the creative challenge of ditching the iambic pentameter for coaxing out melody, fluency and beauty in 140 characters.

It’s #followfriday. Follow me to the pub instead.

#followfriday is a neat little twitteration where twitters recommend people to follow. As Shel points out in a tweet just now (zillions of followers it’s still a pleasant enough feeling to get a lift of followers every now and then. Today’s great piece in the Financial Times Sweet to Tweet points out that hard core Twitterers frown upon blatant self promotion, and apart from the occasional link here and there offering a twitterfeed, finding you really is rather more important in Twitterville than you finding them. Tricky one for brands. How many brands are recommended in #followfriday do we think? A quick survey of 100 recommendations furnished just these two choices, not necessarily brands you may know.

I think I’ll go for the vegan option today. But first to the pub for some rugby action. Happy Friday!

Plus ça change

Back from a glorious skiing effort in the Jura Mountains, which explains the recent blog post free time on Sorry about that, but I don’t recommend blogging and driving, nor twittering and driving. I can see why Gordon Brown isn’t getting his round in at various global summits. The pound has shrunk in value to equate almost 1:1 to the euro. At least it made currency conversion easier for the kids, and slippery slope analogies abounded in the ski lift queue.

I could also justify my quiet time to the recent avatar black out in New Zealand, in protest against a proposed change in NZ law regarding internet copyright law, the guilt upon accusation amendment, which has had twitterers and bloggers around the world up in arms. The protest has had the desired effect, so far, to persuade the NZ government that it’s a dumb idea.

It’s a fine line on copyright, Lord Carter talks about re-establishing and reinforcing the copyright infringement in the Digital Britain report. It’s all well and good where such laws are respected, but the increasing ‘sharing’ of content makes it harder and harder to define origination of concepts and tranches of text. I’ve seen almost entire blogposts lifted and reposted as another blogger’s content. Please quote sources if you can, everyone.