Show Hide image

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

Jason Stamper is editor of Computer Business Review

This article first appeared in the 08 February 2010 issue of the New Statesman, Nightmare on Cameron Street