@KevinRuddPM isn’t really Kevin

Twitter avatar of @KevinRuddPM

I’m not particularly surprised to discover that the Prime Minister’s Twitter presence isn’t really Kevin Rudd but a minion of some kind.

I’ve already written about this [1, 2], and will doubtless write again, but I figure today’s the day they really do need to sort out how they’re going to use this Twitter account.

Are they talking in first person like “I’m on my way to the G20…” or the third like “We think getting 700 followers in 7 hours + following back caused us to crash“? How will they respond to the massive return traffic, making sure everyone feels like they’ve been heard while not sounding like a robot?

Why wasn’t this written up on the site before the account went live? After all, those basic ground rules would have been negotiated well before the PM approved the idea, wouldn’t they?

I’m still not convinced by this “we crashed Twitter” line either. Al Gore joined Twitter the other day and was getting 2000+ adds an hour. It coped fine then. I don’t see why it wouldn’t cope now. Linkage please, Prime Minister’s Minion!

I’m also surprised that they seem to be stumbling a bit, even by rolling out the account while the PM’s travelling. Surely they’d have hired an expert for such a public activity?

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  1. Stilgherrian’s avatar

    We now know that @KevinRuddPM lost followers on Wednesday night because of Twitter’s overly-zealous anti-spam robot.

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  2. hackpacker’s avatar

    Will there be return traffic? Seems like K-Rudd hasn’t got much to say and his new site is looking thin after the Kevin 07 hysteria. Perhaps it’s just building an awesome content strategy to be unveiled in the days to come… or not.

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  3. Stilgherrian’s avatar

    @hackpacker: It’s unfortunate for Kevin Rudd’s team and its social media credibility that the new website and Twitter account went live just as the PM left for the G20 summit — but then in the busy life of Chairman Rudd when would be a suitably quiet time?

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  4. yewenyi’s avatar

    someone needs to do a fake kevin rudd twitter account, like there was once a blog for jobs.

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  5. Sean the Blogonaut’s avatar

    When the man manages to sound so vacant in any of his addresses to MSM, expecting him to be anything more in an emotionless medium is asking too much.

    Perhaps the same people who are advising Kev on his social media interaction are advising conroy?

    Howard devalued and usurped “mateship” to the point where I gagged everytime he memtioned it, Kevin will do thesame with social media. He’s no more interested in engaging with the Austalian public than Howard was sincere about mateship.

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  6. Stilgherrian’s avatar

    @Sean the Blogonaut: I disagree that Twitter is “an emotionless medium”. Expressing emotions in 140 characters or less is certainly a challenge. But emotions are such a core part of being a mammal — indeed, being a vertebrate as emotions come from that part of us sometimes called “the reptilian brain” — that we’re already hard-wired to seek out emotional subtexts in almost every communication.

    Some of us are better than others at both creating and reading those emotional signals, of course. Rudd’s background is similar to mine — grew up on a dairy farm and learned the value of hard work, lost his father before adolescence — and so he’ll similarly feel the need to be “in control” of the outward expression of his emotions. Nevertheless, they will emerge.

    Of course if the spin doctors take over and try to ensure that every little tweet is “on message”, the recipients will soon tired of the artificiality and attention will move on.

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  7. Sean the Blogonaut’s avatar

    @Stilgherrian: Maybe emotionless is not the right word. Emotionally shallow? At least for me (perhaps this more my perception). I suppose that with sufficient practise, the shortness of form could engender poetic qualities much like Haiku

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  8. Stilgherrian’s avatar

    @Sean the Blogonaut: For you, me, and everyone else over the age of 10, writing in 140-characters-or-less is a second language. We are not native speakers. For anyone currently under the age of 10, this is just one of the natural forms of English which they grew up with, and they’ll rapidly develop their own forms which us old fogies will find weird.

    I’d already read somewhere else that the distinctiveness of Australian English pronunciation was set not so much by the mix of English, Irish and Scottish immigrants (convicts and their guards and administrators) in the first wave, but by their children developing their own common form. Twitter, or whichever “ambient intimacy” tool(s) become standard, will be no different.

    And as an aside, I reckon these forms will continue to use the 140-character limit as a common base, even when they move into technologies which won’t require that limit, for the same reason that the standard railway gauge of 4 feet 8.5 inches is (roughly) what it is due to the physical constraints of horse-drawn vehicles even though horses are no longer involved.

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  9. Stephen Stockwell’s avatar

    @Stilgherrian & Sean the Blogonaut: I wholeheartedly agree that the 140-character format is a second language to just about all of us. I keep learning that the reason advertising copywriters usually earn so much, is because writing meaningful prose with only a thimbleful of words is such an irrational art of reduction.

    I wish I could do it well.
    Half of that paragraph could probably go as it is.

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