Social Media

Twitter’s not just for elections…

I’m often looking for ways to engage with my MP – usually online, since that’s how a lot of things are done in the 21st century (banking, paying bills, booking travel etc). However sometimes I get a little bit despondent about writing to elected representatives who then don’t respond.

Neither my last MP Vince Cable, or now (since I’ve moved to Kingston) Ed Davey seem to do the online thing, with not much response to email and no tweets since May 2010.

In fairness, both seem to blog quite a bit and I haven’t yet tested their response rate to a dead-tree format letter.

But this got me thinking – is twitter and social media truly a way for MPs to reach out and engage with their electorate? or is it just a handy tool for some publicity every 4 years when they want our votes.

It would be a shame if the latter were true, since it’s a relatively easy way to publish information, particularly to a younger audience.

So I’ve compiled a list of MPs who haven’t tweeted in the last 6 months (most haven’t since the last election), along with a count of their followers:

Twitter MP followers
@leighmp * – now moved to @andyburnhammp and updated!

With over 22 thousand followers Vince Cable is missing a trick. Perhaps he’s lost the password?

As always corrections and feedback most welcome.

Update – @leighMP is now @andyburnhammp which is regularly updated – thanks to @CollectorManiac for pointing that one out.

Updated update: check out more MP twitter information at

Random Social Media

Trying out Google plus one (updated)

I’ve just had a go at installing the new Google like plus one button on this blog. It’s available in US English only and you have to opt in to the experiment in order to get it to work properly.

There are some handy instructions available on google on adding the button – it involves some Javascript in the header and a plus one tag <g:plusone></g:plusone> to render the button.


Not entirely sure how useful this is – particularly if it’s just related to Google Buzz which picks up my twitter feed anyway.

It seems very similar to Facebook like, but lacking the massively popular social network to back it up.


Now the plus one button has a massively popular social network (10 million users by July 2011) to back it up – the launch of Google Plus integrates with the button. For anyone not yet on plus one, in 10 seconds it:

  • Has an activity stream just like facebook.
  • Allows you to organise contacts using a neat drag and drop interface into ‘circles’ e.g. friends, family, colleagues which is much easier to use than facebook’s privacy settings.
  • Allows you to share content with each circle differently e.g. hello friends here are my drunken photos from last night, hello colleagues here is my presentation for today’s meeting, again facebook sort of allows this but it’s horribly complicated to set up.
  • Has a group video conference feature.
  • lacks group or organisation/company pages – although this feature is coming soon.

The sharing content bit is where the plus one button comes in. Initial testing indicates that it helps with discovery of new pages into google, but has no effect on their page ranking.

Pete Taylor (shameless self publicity) Social Media

My avatar’s now in a water pistol duel

Right, this is slightly bizarre. My @kimondo avatar picture, which has already been blasted into orbit on the space shuttle, is now starring in a series of youtube water pistol shootouts.

It seemed to make sense at the time. Thanks to @firebox for the feature. Here’s hoping for some freebies.

Comment Social Media

Don’t retweet this to get the #newtwitter

Well it seems the new twitter is finally hitting the UK with the #newtwitter hashtag topping the trending charts, although it seems that many are falling for the “follow me / retweet me” to get access to new twitter, which sadly doesn’t work. Anyone who claims to be able to unlock the new twitter for you is a big fat liar.

Image of the new twitter page
All change here

The new layout features a 50/50 split between the twitter stream and trending, lists and suggestion columns – which should suit the more popular widescreen monitor formats. Search is more prominently sitting at the top of the page, and lists and searches are included in dropdown menus. Clicking on a tweet operates a slide out page with more information on that tweet or user.

The new layout seems to have messed up a lot of custom backgrounds although these are a bit of an ugly hack which attempt to shoehorn more contact information onto a twitter page.

In terms of new features – twitter have now launched shortcuts to a lot of the common twitter functions:

Image of twitter short cuts
Just like a twitter client

Hitting a key brings up a lightbox style popup window with the appropriate function.

Favourite tweets also have a bit more prominence as well, which is a feature I’ve hardly bothered with.

The overall feel is that includes more of the features of the many twitter clients that are available – which in itself is perhaps a reaction to the laissez-faire attitude twitter has to it’s service: build too good an API and no-one will visit your website anymore.

Geekery Social Media

Trying out the *new* digg

Digg isn’t the website it once was, and I must admit I generally turn to twitter now for the latest news from the rumour mills before it hits the official news sites. Despite it’s drop in traffic and influence Digg still commands a large (although male-student-dominated) audience. There’s now a ‘new digg’ with a simpler interface which harks back to the original feel of the site.

Digg screenshot
All change here

One of the interesting features is the ability to import feeds directly – so perhaps digg will become what it intended to be – a democratic way of voting for news that’s interesting. Or it might just remain “top 10 hot pictures of Christina Hendricks / 10 Star Wars characters you’d forgotten about/ top 100 1990’s video games”.

There’s a lovely infographic with a potted history of Digg available from Online Schools.

If you’d like an invite to New Digg I have a few spare – give me a shout on twitter @kimondo

My validation code is below, it activates this blog feed in Digg (although I’m not expecting the Digg effect any time soon)


Pete Taylor (shameless self publicity) Social Media

How to use @anywhere to brand your tweets…

I’ve been having a play with twitter’s @anywhere service that allows you to add twitter functionality to any website.

There are functions that turn @usernames into links automatically, but interestingly it’s also possible to edit the ‘sent via’ bit of text that appears next to your tweet.

For example the shamelessly self publicising:

Add branding to a tweet
I stuck with a boring name for this one

The via Kimondo (Pete Taylor) bit links to whatever site you set up when you register your app, which makes for some handy self publicity. I’m fairly sure that setting the app name to ‘buy some teeth whitening stuff here’ would infringe on Twitter’s terms of service, but I’m surprised no-ones tried it yet.

There’s a handy step by step guide on how to create your own @anywhere box here and you can see my attempt here. You can already get wordpress plugins that dovetail the functionality into your site.

You can follow me @kimondo to see the tweet.

Comment Social Media

A week of social media fails…

Social media:  a potentially exciting new way for businesses and organisations to have conversations with their stakeholders; a way of developing a campaign or a brand with a personal touch, or potentially a way to really stick their foot in it and magnify criticism to epic levels.

Killer KitKats

This week saw two interesting social media ‘fails’. First we had Nestlé’s reaction to a greenpeace video about their use of palm oil in KitKat.  The increasing use of Palm oil has resulted in devastating destruction of rainforests and peatlands to create vast monoculture plantations. It’s a classic ecowarriors versus evil-corporation style campaign which is gaining a lot of support. Greenpeace’s opening shot is here:

I must admit, it’s a quite horrible shock advert in the usual Greenpeace style – Nestlé’s response was to get the video taken down from YouTube citing infringement of their trademarked logo.  Almost since the beginning of YouTube what usually happens when a video is taken offline,  a copy will be almost immediately uploaded again;  and Greenpeace of course used this response to generate support for their campaign, and even made the original available for supporters to upload using their own accounts.

The effect was immediate with tweets and facebook updates being bound around mentioning Nestlé’s censorship tactics – a suitably rebellious message which is popular for users of social media to repeat and pass on.

This is a classic example of the ‘Streisand effect ‘ in which an attempt to censor or remove a piece of information from the public domain has the unintended consequence of generating more publicity than if it had just been left online.

Nestlé didn’t stop there however: inevitably as their Facebook page became the source of comments and questions about their use of Palm oil, Nestlé instead responded angrily to the use of their logo as an avatar image, again resulting in yet another deluge of tweets and status updates.

The end result was Greenpeace claiming the upper hand, and Nestlé looking out of step with the campaigners and their customers.

#CashGordon – whose fail?

The other social media ‘fail’ of the past week has been the Conservative website launched to promote the message that Gordon Brown is supported by money for the Unite Union – currently supporting a strike by British Airways workers that has divided opinion. Interestingly the CashGordon  site features an unmoderated twitter stream repeating every tweet with the #cashgordon hashtag. It’s a particularly old school concept which dates from when twitter was a relatively new phenomenon, and having anyone tweet about your site was quite exciting.

The more left wing tweeters have jumped on this hashtag with a stream of abuse – many of which are too rude to put here, but which include things like:

@fusi_loving the EPIC FAIL that is #cashgordon – they cant even get a twitter feed right, what are they gonna do with the economy? lol. #toryfail


@lordbonkers Write something rude about the Tories, mark it#cashgordon and they post it on their own campaign site for you

and the rather damming:

@psbook New post –> Tory ‘Cash Gordon’ campaign designed by US anti-healthcare lobbyist #cashgordon

Interestingly however the very presence of the website, and the numerous comments on the #cashgordon hashtag has had the unintended consequence of bringing the whole campaign to the attention of a much wider audience (at time of writing #cashgordon is trending in the top ten of the UK) which itself is being claimed as a success.

Update: I’ll see if I can tally up the tweets to see who can claim victory on this one

Another Update: nope, quite clear epic fail

Anatomy of a hashtag #cashgordon
Epic fail