ACT News


Life is tweet for ACT Liberals as they get their own social media adviser

In a case of if you can't out-tweet them, join them, the ACT Liberals have recruited their own social media tsar to boost the professionalism of their engagement.

Opposition Leader Jeremy Hanson said the move was necessary because the Liberals could not afford not to get their message out to a diverse audience. ''We are now taking a more deliberate approach to our social media engagement,'' he said. ''We've certainly been using it before, but we want to increase our professionalism.''

A spokeswoman for Chief Minister Katy Gallagher said the ALP appointed its own social media adviser many years ago, although members treated their own profiles differently.

Asked whether the ACT Liberals would consider introducing Twitter forums similar to those implemented by Ms Gallagher and the ALP, Mr Hanson said he was not opposed to the idea but expressed cynicism.

''I'm always up for conversations on Twitter but I don't need to designate a one-hour period in which people can contact me with questions,'' he said.


''This is not about the number of tweets or the number of posts, but about personal engagement and genuine communication.''

As it stands, only two Liberal members rank among the top-10 MLA tweeters. Nicole Lawder ranks third with 4177 tweets and Alistair Coe ninth with 909 tweets.

Andrew Wall has tweeted just 51 times for 288 followers, while his counterpart Brendan Smyth has sent only 29 updates since joining the service in August 2011.

Giulia Jones does not have a Twitter account that refers to her MLA title, although a spokesman said she ''tends to use Facebook fairly regularly - but Twitter rarely''.

Chief Minister Katy Gallagher has more Twitter followers than any other MLA with almost 11,000 subscribers.

Labor's Andrew Barr said social media has become a useful political tool that allows him to ''keep in touch with the thousands of Canberrans each week on the issues that matter to them''.

Mr Hanson said the most effective mode of political communication is still to meet with constituents and look them in the eye, and said he would continue to do so.

The Opposition Leader called on Ms Gallagher to sack Education Minister Joy Burch in December after she retweeted an abusive tweet about Christopher Pyne.

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