Monday, February 15, 2010


So last night was Gordon Brown’s interview with Piers Morgan. I didn’t actually watch it myself so I’m afraid that this won’t be a blow by blow account of every second of scintillating television that it no doubt was.

What I did watch though, was the response on Twitter (Sad I know). Tweets tagged with #pmwithpm and #tearsforpiers flew back and forward last night at a phenomenal rate. One hundred and forty characters of pithy response to every single shot, cut away and piece of canned laughter. Every one ready to be swept up by the media, the blogosphere and other Tweeters for  a measure of the instant reaction of the public to the event.

In the main they were predictable, those on the right ridiculed it and declared it an electioneering stunt, a shallow and transparent attempt to show that the tin man really does have a heart. Those on the left were of course the opposite, they appeared to fall over themselves to fawn at the PM (the Prime Minister not the Piers Morgan) and were amazed and delighted at how open and transparent he appeared to be, how human he was, one might say, although I don’t think any of them did.

Shortly after it was over Tweetminster, everyone’s favourite company trying to sell twitter brand tracking services, reported that sentiment towards Gordon Brown was +13 on their arbitrary black box scale. However with the number of activists on both sides pumping out 140 characters every 30 seconds and the number of Labour tweets being retweeted by the right, normally suffixed with WTF, OMG or LOL, I can’t see that that is a measure of the general public’s real sentiment.

Whether last night’s interview was a success for Brown and boosts his chance of being elected (I nearly wrote re-elected there) we really can’t tell from looking at a search for #pmwithpm or #tearsforpiers. Twitter has become too dominated by activists, and those aligned to political parties, it’s ability to measure the mood of the general public and reach people outside of the same political networks is becoming less and less.

Indeed what will tell if last night was a success for Labour, won’t be the talk on Twitter last night or today, it will instead be the talk around the water cooler this morning. The question is not what @laboursupporter287 thinks but has the usual Monday morning talk of football results, So You Think you Can Dance and wild nights out been replaced with the gossip and revelations from Valentines day dates or with a discussion of Gordon Brown and his party’s policies?

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