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Some Queensland MPs embrace Twitter, others don't

TheSundayMail.com.au

US PRESIDENT Barack Obama embraced it and won office, Opposition treasury spokesman Joe Hockey is a fan, as is Queensland Premier Anna Bligh.

But while some of the state's politicians are actively blogging their daily thought-bubbles on Twitter, many more have shunned the social media site as a means of communicating with the masses.

It comes as at least one of the major parties grapples with its social media policy – with the LNP U-turning on plans to centrally control the party's federal election candidates' Facebook pages after criticism of the move.

There is also division within the Labor Party over the effectiveness of "tweeting".

While Ms Bligh and Prime Minister Kevin Rudd are regular twitterers, with a combined following of almost one million users, other Labor politicians, including several State Cabinet ministers, have ruled out using the site.

Federal Labor MP for Longman, Jon Sullivan, ruled out using it now or in the near future, despite an upcoming election campaign.

Bob Katter, the Independent MP for Kennedy in north Queensland, has been the most scathing critic, saying he could never "face the boys at the Garradunga pub" if they found out he was on Twitter.

"I would be finished. I would be gone," he said. "It has the effect of dehumanising it all.

"Using it is just not my form of communication."

Mr Katter also warned of the "grave dangers" of Twitter, such as being set-up online and a fall in work output as well as the tendency for politicians to punch out "hurtful", off-the-cuff comments in the heat of the moment.

A survey of Queensland politicians has revealed most do not have Twitter accounts.

Of those politicians on Twitter, many have fewer than 100 followers watching their pages.

MPs including Margaret May, Michael Crandon, Jann Stuckey and Vicky Darling can count their fans on one hand.

That compares with the huge 921,906 followers of Mr Rudd and 4488 followers of Ms Bligh, who last month re-opened debate on daylight saving via Twitter.

In contrast, state Opposition Leader John-Paul Langbroek has just 418 followers.

That is just more than the over 300-strong following of Ipswich City Councillor Paul Tully, who wins the award as the state's most prolific blogging machine, tapping out up to 16 "tweets" some days.

Federal Member for Dickson Peter Dutton is also a Twitter user, entertaining his 1210 followers with comments such as: "Prince Philip is definitely my favourite royal."

A page has been started on Twitter urging more politicians to take to the site.