Should @PMOPressOffice be partisan?


  1. Quite by chance, I stumbled across this tweet from @PMOPressOffice today.
  2. I thought "whoops, someone will regret giving the junior staffer responsibility for the official Twitter account". Then I glanced at a few of the account's other tweets:
  3. It dawned on me that puerile badgering was a defining feature of @PMOPressOffice's Twitter behaviour. Clearly the account was a clumsy spoof, set up by an over-enthusiastic Labor supporter or inexperienced staffer to troll Liberals. But no....
  4. I was gob-smacked. Until now, I've been impressed with the Prime Minister's use of social media. She and her office have used it sparingly but effectively to make connections with Australian voters and establish communities of support. The PM's Twitter account conveys warmth and authenticity, she's made the effort to use live blogs and a Google+ hangout, and she's built a rapport with key sections of the blogging community.

    But @PMOPressOffice threatens to undo that good work. It lurches from providing useful facts and counter-arguments...
  5. ... to outright trollish behaviour...
  6.  ... and even dabbled in the leadership-stoush.
  7. While there are no hard and fast rules when it comes to how a Press Office should conduct itself on social media, the trollish behaviour is inappropriate and diminishes the integrity of the office. 

    For comparison, check out No 10's Press Office and that of the White House Press Secretary:
  8. Clearly I'm late to the party in questioning the credentials and behaviour of @PMOPressOffice.

    In response to a voter query back in mid-March whether the account had one or more authors, @PMOPressOffice responded:
  9. Government 2.0 advocate Craig Thomler identified the potential for perceived conflict arising from a government Twitter account being used for political purposes: