David Cameron speaks the perfect tweet?

Opposition leader David Cameron appeared on radio this morning and took a cheap shot at Twitter, saying “the trouble with Twitter, the instantness (sic) of it – too many twits might make a twat.”.

We only get the glib soundbite from Cameron – crude language and all – and it adds nothing to the topic of discussion. So ironically, Cameron is guilty of being as trivial, whether by accident or by planning, as the Twitter users he presumes to criticise!

But there is a grain of truth in the point he was apparently trying to make. Yes, anyone using a communication medium – especially one so relatively new – should be aware of its limitations and be careful to avoid being misunderstood. But that’s self-evident isn’t it? That goes for blogs, television, the press, Facebook, YouTube and any of the other media “outlets” you might speak through. Radio too.

With Twitter and other social media platforms, politicians and the public sector can communicate directly with people, without the filtering or editing that takes place in traditional mainstream media. His language is unfortunate and misses the point. But I guess it’s good to hear Cameron speaking with passion and an authentic human voice. He could have posted it on Twitter.

Meanwhile Simon Dickson has some insights into Whitehall and a recent Twitter strategy document for civil servants:

Yes, Neil’s document is lengthy; and he admitted from the off that it would seem ‘a bit over the top’. But if exciting new tools like Twitter are to make it through the middle-management swamp of the Civil Service, they need to be wrapped in boring documentation like this. Whether or not it ever gets read, mandarins need to feel that your Twitter proposal has received the same proper consideration as the other (weightier?) items on their to-do list. ‘Dude! This is so cooool! We should so be doing this!’ will not get you very far.