Crikey: @KevinRuddPM stumbles into the Twitterverse

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[This article was first published in Crikey on Friday. It covers much the same material as my previous three posts [1, 2, 3] but for a general non-Twitter audience.]

Wednesday 1.35pm. Someone logs into the newly-created account “KevinRuddPM” and types “Looking forward to communicating with you on Twitter“. Thus did our Prime Minister enter the crazy hyperconnected global front bar cum water cooler conversation that is the Twitterverse.

Twitter avatar of @KevinRuddPM

It took a couple of hours for word to spread and for KevinRuddPM to gather his first ten “followers”. But soon the numbers grew. People said their greetings, asked questions and offered opinions — and most of the opinions were calling for an end to the Internet filtering trials. Smart-arses like me even offered snarky advice.

By mid-evening, KevinRuddPM had more than 700 followers. Those hanging out for a response eagerly devoured the second Prime Ministerial tweet: “Thanks to everyone for adding me on Twitter.” [My reaction: OMFG! Kevin Rudd tweeted again!] And then all the followers suddenly disappeared. Huh?

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OMFG! Kevin Rudd tweeted again!

Wow! Yesterday @KevinRuddPM said “Looking forward to communicating with you on Twitter” and now he’s said “Thanks to everyone for adding me on Twitter”! The Rudd Government really is about fresh thinking! Look!

Screenshot of Prime Minister Kevin Rudd's second tweet: Thanks to everyone for adding me on Twitter

OK, I’m not going to write a blog post every time the PM tweets something. But this gives you an idea of the scrutiny he’s under. He (or an as-yet-unnamed minion) types eight words and suddenly hundreds of people are a’flutter. Or a’twitter.

Mr Rudd’s first challenge will be to explain why he had over 400 followers last night, and had followed most of them back, but now half of them are gone. It’s probably just a Twitter glitch, but we all Need To Know. Now please. I’m sure the friendly folks at Twitter will respond quickly when they know it’s Australia’s Prime Minister (or an as-yet-unnamed minion) asking. That’s like even more important than Sarah Palin!

Have you ever seen Sarah Palin and Kevin Rudd in the same room? Spooky!

Since my welcome to the PM yesterday, I’ve been thinking about some suitably Prime Ministerial tweets.

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