Media and politics Twittering in the UK

Over the last month or so I’ve started following a few unusual ‘people’ on Twitter (follow me on twitter here). In addition to friends, colleagues and people who work in similar areas to me, I’m now also following the Prime Minister’s Office, the BBC, Channel Four’s newsroom and the Channel Four news blogger. The best of these are the Channel Four and Prime Minister’s twitter feeds – they actually feel as though they are written by a real person and offer commentary on what’s happening. The BBC feeds by contrast are little more than an different way of getting their headlines out…

What interests me most about all of this Twitter activity is that all four of these people are now following me too. It may be because I was a relatively early follower, but I hope it’s not. My updates are not necessarily of world importance, and I’m unlikely to break many news stories. But if Channel Four, the BBC or the Prime Minister’s office follow everybody who follows them then this will undoubtedly become an incredible resource for them. And for me, it gives the impression (rightly or wrongly) that I am entering into an exchange with them. True engagement in a way that was never possible before.

Twitter use is growing – in the US it’s growing at a rate of 800% year-on-year. More corporations should be using it to engage with their customers and stakeholders. Whether just to learn what is going on in their lives or for more business-oriented tasks. Imagine the power of a customer service function via Twitter for example. Or as a way of transmitting information in times of emergency. Both possibilities that are emerging.