Anti-Social Media


nemethThe following blog was published in a shortened form yesterday in the Argus Newspaper: The news that Brighton & Hove City Council Standards Committee judged Councillor Robert Nemeth of the Wish ward in Hove to have broken a code of conduct must have pleased Warren Morgan who was criticised by Robert on twitter over his statements regarding Hove Library and whose complaints led to the hearing by the Standards Committee. The impact of social media in general and twitter in particular on the behaviour and actions of politicians is an important issue, as much because of the way that Donald Trump uses twitter as anything else. Another local story carried in the Argus related to the cancellation of a Labour Party meeting following comments made on twitter by a Rebecca Massey, a senior party figure. Twitter is a form of communication which due to its brevity can lead to innocent comments being misconstrued due to a lack of context; equally it is capable of offering a quick and effective way of communicating short clear messages. One issue for politicians on twitter is to understand its rhythms and value as an open form of communication. Within the cohort of Sussex politicians who use twitter certain Councillors including Warren Morgan himself, MPs such as Maria Caulfield and Nicholas Soames and Daniel Hannan MEP have a reputation for blocking people from following them if they are questioned regarding their comments and behaviour. Twitter is primarily designed for publicly accessible communication although one can also send direct messages between people who follow one another. This means that blocking followers, particularly when the account is used to send out messages with a strong public element and statements on key issues as well as for dialogue suggests a lack of openness and accountability. No public figure is obliged to post on twitter but when staff open an account without the MP being aware, this can lead to a different set of challenges as Peter Bottomley MP discovered a year or two ago.

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About ianchisnall

I have a passion to see public policy made accessible everyone who want to improve the wellbeing of their communities. I am interested in issues related to crime and policing as well as in policies on health services and strategic planning.
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