Councillors on Twitter: Some still in the dark

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It has become a global phenomenon credited with organising the Arab Spring – and it seems social media has established a firm foothold in the Capital’s corridors of power.

The majority of Edinburgh city councillors have signed up to Twitter, with Leith Green councillor Chas Booth leading the pack with more than 2000 followers.

Council leader Andrew Burns is the most prolific tweeter with more than 8200 posts. But 18 of the city’s 58 councillors have not taken up the Twitter habit – including deputy council leader Steve Cardownie

Councillor Burns said: “I treat it as another avenue for engaging with local constituents and the wider public, much in the same way as I do with e-mail, Facebook, local surgeries and one-to-one meetings. I think it’s unavoidable in the modern age if you want proper engagement you have to use social media.”

But Councillor Cardownie said he preferred to talk to people face to face, He said: “They call it social media, but I think it’s antisocial media because it’s impersonal. I’m not self-important enough to think anyone is interested in what I had for breakfast.”

Councillor Booth said Twitter was a good way of getting out short bursts of information but also of being able to listen.

“It’s important councillors are accessible to constituents in ways that are relevant to them. Many people don’t own computers and don’t have assess to Twitter and for them a weekly surgery is their way to contact me. But Twitter is a useful way of me being accessible.”

Tory Alan Jackson has sent no tweets at all, despite having 33 followers. He said: “Someone set it up for me, but I’ve been so busy with other things I’ve never got round to it. I put out 5000 newsletters inviting people to get in touch with me about their problems – and they do.”

From the corridors of power

Maureen Child @MaurenChild1: Cafe and local hub opened for business on Monday. Fab new community enterprise in Craigmillar. Spread the word!

Maggie Chapman @MaggieEdinburgh: Fantastic to be marching for something positive today! #YesYesYes #indymarch with @EdinburghGreens @RIC_Edinburgh

Frank Toner @Cllr_FrankToner: I back Ed Miliband’s pledge to scrap the Bedroom Tax - will you? http://

Norma Austin Hart @normaaustinhart: Do you want a successful Scottish parliament in the UK backed by public spending that is £1200 higher than UK average? @UK_Together

Gavin Barrie @GavinKBarrie: Great turnout for YES canvassing in Orchard Road area of Edinburgh. And great weather to!

Gavin Corbett @gavincorbett: I do find it astonishing the amount of attention that is paid

to leaders’ speeches.

Actions and programmes mean much more than words.

Lesley Hinds @LAHinds: Welcome announcement by Minister Keith Brown to fund £3.6m to Leith Walk Project. This funding with Councils money will ensure improvement