Slightly surreal debate on use of smartphones/tablets etc in the chamber of the UK House of Commons last week. Happily, among much argument of who was the first to use Twitter / iPad / take Hipstamatics of PMQs etc, they decided that they can continue to use them.
Some of the arguments made in favour concerned: instant access to information, communication with sources, the ability to update speeches easily as debates move on and to get work done while waiting to be called by the Speaker – so a mix of improving the accuracy and effectiveness of debate, and simple productivity improvements. No mention of Angry Birds, oddly.
What’s really interesting is when a MP will rely on a constituent for his or her argument and essentially will become a channel for, rather than a representative of, their views. The MP for Liverpool, Wavertree, Luciana Berger (@lucianaberger) actually read out tweets from the public to the chamber in this debate and ended up largely holding a debate by herself.
There was extensive use of Twitter at the readings of the controversial Digital Economy Bill too – seem to remember constituents explaining issues via Twitter to their MPs.
Digital participative democracy. It grows and grows. Why even meet to parler in a physical location at all?