Just less than a year ago, following news about TVNZ’s new and strict social media guidelines, I asked the government’s most interesting Tweeter, Judith Collins, whether the National Party had any rules of its own.
@toby_etc Not that I'm aware of. We're a party of personal responsibility
— Judith Collins (@JudithCollinsMP) June 17, 2013
Whether or not that has formally changed, Collins’ outburst over TVNZ reporter Katie Bradford seems to have prompted the prime minister to signal to his MPs that they should desist from active and engaged tweetery.
He told TV3’s Firstline this morning:
I think it’s sensible for [Collins] not to be engaging in Twitter and reading some of the trolls and people that are on that stuff.
I don’t engage in that.
I put tweets out from time to time, my office does, that are used as a sort of broadcast mechanism, for understanding what I’ve done, or a particular thing that’s happened, or something that’s a little bit quirky or interesting.
But, you know, I think there’s a real danger in politicians engaging in this stuff.
There are, frankly, people who get on there, they’re nasty, and they’ve got a particular agenda. And I think Judith has let a few of those people get under her skin.
Collins has not tweeted since posting this apology to Bradford on Sunday afternoon:
@katieabradford Katie I was answering questions abt wider public engagement. Yr example came to mind. Reflected on that.Shouldnt have.sorry
— Judith Collins (@JudithCollinsMP) May 4, 2014
Update: Fairfax is now reporting that Collins has quit Twitter altogether, though it is not clear whether that is for a break, or permamently.
See also: the five stupidest tweets by politicians