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The British Government's "Twitter Exclusives"

BY Miranda Neubauer | Monday, April 29 2013

As Britain slowly gears up for its 2015 general election, the government of Conservative Prime Minister David Cameron has begun a more aggressive Twitter strategy, the Guardian reported.

That includes offering so-called Twitter exclusives to certain journalists, allowing them to break news ahead of their rivals, the Guardian noted, a practice that might bother traditionalists who believe such announcements must occur in Parliament first.

According to the Guardian, the Prime Minister's Communications Director Craig Oliver is pushing the Twitter-first strategy, from using the Conservative Party's own Twitter presence to respond to negative news stories to briefing Conservative MPs on Twitter talking points, " using them to 'tweet as a muscular force' about a single topic or news item to hammer home the message."

According to a recent post by Tweetminister, over one million people follow British MPs on Twitter, and the Conservatives are the party with the most followed MPs.

But in the Guardian, Tweetminister founder Alberto Nardelli noted that this total number is still relatively small, corresponding to the number of people who follow Beppe Grillo, the leader of the Italian Five Star protest movement.

"I believe N10 providing "Twitter exclusives" is a relevant move as it's fundamentally adapting a common practice to Twitter. I wouldn't call it good or bad, but a reflection of the fact that Twitter is now integral to media relations," Nardelli wrote in an e-mail to techPresident. "The N10 Twitter account for press is another good example of this. Compared to many other governments, I do think though that N10 and the British Government more broadly is one of the more effective ones, and at a more advanced stage, in terms of its use of Twitter. The Foreign Office is also a good example of best practice."

On the other side of the British political spectrum, techPresident recently learned that the Labour Party is working with Blue State Digital to organize and mobilize its supporters, with BSD's Political Director Matthew McGregor overseeing the firm's international activities.