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December 20, 2011

British politicians flock to Twitter

The world of British politics has taken notice of booming social media sites like Twitter and Facebook, resulting in an increase of social media channels with British politicians

By Tineka Smith

A global study released by Edelman PR reveals that Westminster is running towards the digital age at full throttle. The recent surge of sites like Twitter has political heads turning and many believe that these sites offer the chance for greater influence.

Over a third of all Parliamentary advisers find social media channels are more influential than print or TV advertising with MPs looking to social media quicker than their advisors had predicted.

Even with the increase of interest in social media, Westminster is still behind the United States with 84%, Canada with 96%, Mexico with 88% and Argentina with 86% in Twitter involvement.

The study showed that in the UK over 73% of advisors use Twitter to follow bloggers and political professionals with 83% using it to follow media.

Westminster

The Director for Public Affairs, Dominic Pendry said: "Twitter has officially entered the mainstream of political dialogue in Britain. More political advisers are using social networks to listen and interact than ever before."

The study revealed, however, that MPs are some of the least likely to change a policy due to online research. The only other countries that are less likely to change the policy views based on online research are Argentina and China, which doesn’t say much for Britain in that aspect.

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The landscape is changing quickly and it is important that Campaigners acknowledge the importance of entering the digital age. Online usage provides a key way to gain influence.

"The old policy mainstays of national economics and local vote winners are as important to Parliamentary advisors as ever, but the means to reach them is changing and fast. Campaigners have to create content to go online if they want to influence Westminster in 2012," added Pendry.

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