Despite my recent posts lambasting the man’s speechcraft, I don’t have anything personal against David Shearer. I’m sure he’s lovely (I’ve met few politicians who weren’t charming/charismatic/friendly in person, across the spectrum*) I’m hopeful he’s passionate and really cares …
I’m not sure about the cyborg personality he occasionally lets log in to his Twitter account, though.
You see, I have a theory about political/celebrity Twitter accounts. A lot of the received wisdom is that you have to be genuine, casual, upfront, etc etc on Twitter, and that certainly works for a lot of people (there’s no denying Trevor Mallard is running his own account; that may not be the best thing but at least it’s genuine).
But I think the Twitter audience can also appreciate that some people – like the Prime Minister – are really a little too busy to be constantly checking their phones. We hope. And aren’t really of a generation who we assume are incredibly tech-savvy, or necessarily comfortable with the speed and informality of social media. So we don’t feel particularly galled that @johnkeypm is pretty obviously run out of level 9 of the Beehive, nor that @philgoffmp was likewise for the 3rd floor of Parliament House (the obvious evidence being its complete silence since he stepped down).
The problem with @davidshearermp is that it’s neither one nor the other. So you get jarring shifts between snappy little comments about John Banks one day to empty, boring, focus-grouped, written-by-committee, not-actually-engaging-in-conversation key messages which break the cardinal rule of Twitter (it’s not called micro-blogging for no good reason, people) and expect people to sit around watching their feeds fill up with all-David-Shearer, all-the-time platitudes and presumably retweet the bits they find least soulless.
And don’t forget that classy NooNoo Zealand hashtag!
It’s consistency, it’s micro-blogging, it’s Marbo, it’s the vibe. And Shearer – or at least the shiny red automatons who occasionally seize control of his brain and typing fingers – ain’t got it Twitter-wise.
*Notable exceptions: Coddington, Brownlee, Shane Jones