Labour star’s all atwitter

How many followers make a Twitter tsar?

When the Labour Party announced that it was hiring the MP Kerry McCarthy - whom the Independent had just named the most influential MP on Twitter - as its Twitter tsar, I asked whether she carried as much weight on the micro-blogging site as the magician Paul Daniels did.

At that time, McCarthy had 2,424 Twitter followers, having tweeted 4,555 times. Paul Daniels, meanwhile, had built up a following of 22,421 with about the same number of tweets. McCarthy was less than impressed with my comments. She said I should take into account the number of replies to the tweets, not just the number of followers.

More surprisingly, she took umbrage at being called a Twitter tsar, firing back the tweet: "The party is not calling me that." Yet, as I pointed out, her own parliamentary website had featured an official press release that stated: "The Labour Party has announced that Kerry will be the 'Twitter tsar' with the responsibility of encouraging MPs to use new media."

But not for long. No sooner had I alerted McCarthy that she was, indeed, Labour's new Twitter tsar than she had her people go back and edit
the release. It was changed to state: "The Labour Party has announced that Kerry will be their new media campaigns spokesperson."

Anyway, I am pleased to see that McCarthy has a sense of humour about such matters. Her Twitter profile now states: "Answers to Twitter tsar only under duress!"

Jason Stamper is NS technology correspondent and the editor of Computer Business Review

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