Assembly “internet speed” debate (on Twitter)


Just seen the BBC picking up on John O’Dowd’s tweets (Sinn Fein, Upper Bann) regarding the state of the NI Assembly internet connection.

John tweeted: "Between 12.30 & 2pm it is impossible to work through the medium of the Internet in the Assembly. I am told staff etc are on social networks." He did add that “I have no objection to anyone using their lunch break on social networks but surely the Assembly It system should be able to cope!”

He was then reassured everyone by tweeting "I am now reliably informed plans are afoot to deal with the Internet lull @ the Assembly that our friend social networking is not to blame."

In response to @whistlinpaddy who reminded him of his own precarious position vis a vis social networking John admitted "I am guilty as accused, a social network junky. It is the standard of the IT system letting us down not the users.”

A real wee piece of interactivity and conversation in the public domain that needs to be commended, especially in how both handled the conversation. 

I only hope he was not tweeting in the Chamber as Willie Hay, Assembly Speaker may have something to say about that.  On Tuesday he interupted the debating by warning members,

Before I call Dr Stephen Farry, I ask all Members to check that their mobile phones are switched off. A mobile phone, or phones, is causing a major problem to the amplifying system in the Chamber. If Members cannot switch their phones off, can they please put them on silent? As I said, a mobile phone is having a serious effect on the amplifying system.

So what does this tell us?
  1. John knows how to use the phenomena of social media. Kudos!
  2. John uses a Blackberry. It would be interesting to see the breakdown of devices used by MLAs (blackberry vs iPhone vs other)
  3. John responds to other’s tweets. It is so easy to use web 2.0 in a 1.0 way and it really adds to the idea of politicians only being a tweet away. 
Conversational politics is vastly underused by our politicians, though more and more are learning how to use Twitter, Facebook and blogs to interact with their own constituents and the world at large.


I think though the best recent tweet from John was this beauty,

Genius, funny and disturbing all at the same time.

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