As part of this People to follow on Twitter series, I am going to look at some of the different accounts that are around and worth following.
The first one that I have decided to look at is @NZparliament. This is the official account for the New Zealand Parliament. It was started in 2010. The thing I like the most about it, is the people behind it are willing and able to answer questions. The other week I was trying to find out who the oldest MP currently in the house was, the @NZparliament account answered quickly.
In answer to my questions via email, the aim of the account is to communicate highlights about parliamentary business, news, events, website updates and parliamentary broadcasting information.
Parliament are also currently undertaking a pilot project on the live webcasting of certain select committee hearings, and there is a Twitter account, @NZSCwebcast, associated with this project. The webcasting is available on the Parliament website. One thing I would suggest to the people running @NZSCwebcast is that they include a link to the page in the Tweets, as that will make it much easier for people to find. Particularly if someone who is appearing before the select committee reTweets it, and people who are not regular watchers want to watch. The use of webcasting for select committees is a good idea. We all benefit from being able to see Select Committee hearings being under taken.
The final account, that is not directly run by Parliament, but is funded by the Office of the Clerk, is @ParliamentNZ. This account provides links to Questions for Oral Answers each sitting day, it Tweets questions as they are asked in the house during Question Time, it provides a podcast on the happenings in Parliament, as well as updates on the progress of legislation.
I can see the reason behind having the split accounts, however it would be good to see some cross pollination between the accounts to let people know about the other accounts. Until speaking with those in charge of the @NZparliament account, I didn’t know of the existence of the @NZSCwebcast account. The existence and followings of all these accounts should be used to help build the following of others. It does feel in some ways that the three different accounts are duplicating effort, that @ParliamentNZ could be doing what @NZSCwebcast is trying to do. However, some of this could be overcome by the three different accounts talking about and too each other, to try and help grow the following of all of them.
It is good to see the Clerk of the House talking about the use of social media to help keep Parliament relevant in their submission to the Standing Orders Committee. It will be interesting to see how social media and the internet is used by Parliament to help maintain its relevancy. One thing I have been thinking about, is the recording of Tweets sent by MPs from the House in a manner similar to Hansard.
The New Zealand Parliament has a good base to grow its social media pressence from, it obviously has a had job in balancing its need for political neutrality with ways in which it can increase engagement. But the foundations are there, and the people involved have a desire to see it grow.