Twitter is even beginning to influence the workings of the top dogs in parliament. Believe it or not, yesterday MPs voted in favour of the opportunity to use the social networking site (amongst other technologies) whilst in the middle of crucial parliamentary debates in the House of Commons.
Despite being asked to consider giving up their tweeting habits for the sake of ‘decorum’ in the House, 206 politicians voted in favour of tweeting in the chamber, while only 63 tried to block the move.
A number of high-profile representatives opposed the move, with Liberal Democrat Simon Hughes of the opinion that allowing the technology’s usage during debates would leave MPs looking ‘disconnected’ from the task at hand. Roger Gale from the Conservative party raised concerns that being able to use Twitter would mean that politicians are influenced by the opinions of those sitting on the outside of the debate, jeopardising the standard of objectivity that is supposed to have been set within the House of Commons.
Others, such as Labour’s Luciana Berger, argued that there are currently only two nations in Europe that have banned tweeting outright, with the rest happy to embrace the new technology and use it to their advantage.
Public opinion of the decision has been mixed, with many users of the Guardian website in particular quick to object. One commenter suggests that there should be a ‘time and place’ for Twitter, arguing that politicians shouldn’t be allowed to ‘play with their toys on occasions like these’.
But why would MPs want to engage with Twitter while at work anyway? Select MPs are defending their decision with the idea that keeping in touch with their constituents in real-time will encourage greater interactivity with debates and keep interested members of the public in touch with important discussions. They have also highlighted the need for multi-tasking during meetings.