Tips for MPs/Candidates using Twitter

Since starting this blog, I have raised a couple of issues that I thought it would be worth putting into a single post. I will keep adding to this as I see bad habits cropping up.


Clicking on links you are not sure of.

This one should be really obvious. It should be ingrained in every single internet user, not just those on Twitter. If you see a link that you are not sure of, do not click on it. If you do, you run the risk that it will attempt to obtain the rights to post to your Twitter account and will then bombard your timeline and followers with Tweets with more spam links. It used to be more of an issue with Direct Messages, however the spammers seem to have changed their attack path.

–  Buying followers

I alluded to this phenomenon in the post Does this look plausible? I asked the hopeful candidate for comment, but on more than one occasion they refused to provide comment. However, do not buy followers. As tempting as it may be, you will be caught out eventually. Having an account that is only hours old and has hundreds of followers will always look questionable.

Two way conversation

Twitter is about two way conversation. It is not something to be used solely as a broadcast channel. Engage, talk, ask questions. Do not fill your feed with links to press releases.

Linking your Facebook and Twitter accounts

Do not link your Facebook and Twitter accounts. If you do this, every time you post a photo to Facebook, your account Tweets “I just posted a photo to Facebook”. This can get very annoying for your followers, especially if you are uploading multiple images individually. As well, keep the Tweets being posted to Facebook as statuses. Facebook and Twitter are different animals and should be treated the as such.

Update regularly

Treat your followers as you would any friends. Don’t ignore them. Update them regularly, but in a real manner, not just canned statements or links to press releases. Your followers follow you because they are interested in what you are doing. Let your personality show through, but remember, tone is lacking from online text interaction, so be careful of overstepping any redlines.

Don’t be needlessly inflammatory

Treat Twitter as you would a town hall meeting, don’t make claims you can’t back up, don’t make inflammatory statements, do not abuse followers.

Blocking people

Be very careful with blocking people. If they are being obviously abusive, then fine. But if they are just questioning you, or ribbing you, don’t block them. If people are treading a fine line, then give them a warning.

Plug local events/businesses

If local business in your electorate are promoting themselves on Twitter, or there are local events being promoted on Twitter, retweet those Tweets. Engage with the businesses on Twitter. Learn about using the full stop at the start of the Tweet, so all your followers see it.

I will update this during the year. If you have any suggestions, feel free to leave them below.



    • Considering that is a photography account, it is slightly different. But point taken.

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