British politician is busy Twittering on the campaign trail

Fairfax County, Va., pols may just getting used to the idea of blogs, but in the UK national politicians are getting hip to every technoweenie's fave activity, Twitter, generically described as microblogging.

Fairfax County, Va., pols may just getting used to the idea of blogs, but in the UK national politicians are getting hip to every technoweenie's fave activity, Twitter, generically described as microblogging. The Guardian says that Labour Party deputy leadership contender Alan Johnson is actively twittering away, posting 50-odd updates per day.

So how does Johnson fit in among the 8m "tweets" (short Twitter messages) sent worldwide so far? At the time of writing, twitter.com/johnson4deputy reports the last time he update he was "Heading off to Leeds after a really successful campaign launch. 65 PLP [Parliamentary Labour Party] supporters already declared ..." You can almost hear the bandwagon rolling.

Johnson's team is steering clear of blogs and focusing on Twitter for techno outreach. According to Stuart Bruce, Johnson's PR lead, Twitter makes more sense.

"Only 60% of UK households use the internet regularly. Mobile phone penetration is nearly 100%," he says. "Twitter is a way of making the campaign much more accessible to most people. We've taken a decision that Alan is not going to start a blog just for the deputy leader contest."

"Being secretary of state for education and employment is a critical job and there is no way Alan could do a blog properly. It's better to not blog than to do it badly. Most people don't have a clue what senior politicians do. Using Twitter gives a real insight and clearly shows that he's an ordinary guy."

Even so, many people enamored of it originally have already become sick of the flood of messages too brief to contain any real content. "It has the potential to be the biggest waste of time in the world - by spending time Twittering your every action or reading about other people drinking their espresso," Bruce concedes.