Twitter is a device for your computer or mobile phone that enables users to send and read short text messages, called “tweets”, of no more than 140 characters – which is around 25 words.
A ‘tweetchat’ is a pre-arranged chat that happens on Twitter using a predefined hashtag – a title – that links those tweets together in a virtual conversation for the reader to follow and join in.
It gives people an opportunity to answer questions posed by the host from anywhere in the world and I hosted my first ‘tweetchat’ last week that reached a potential audience of nearly 200,000 people.
The purpose was to seek input from people with diabetes about the current provision of diabetes education and support and seek views on what other types and forms of training and support would enable them – and their families – to live healthier and happier lives.
It was part of the All Party Parliamentary Group for Diabetes year-long enquiry into education and diabetes.
I asked 4 key questions to help the conversation along and encourage answers that could be shared more widely beyond Twitter.
I watched reactions to the questions and the conversations that flowed sometimes answering further questions that were raised or commenting on interesting responses.
It was a great way of obtaining views and ideas and it struck me that such an exercise would lend itself to Council consultations if the Mayor was serious about listening to what local people want.
Surveys can throw up very interesting results and a recent one of 1,000 people for an ice lolly brand revealed that a quarter of Britons have never visited the British coast!
Apparently the Scots showed the least enthusiasm for a day at the beach while nearly two in ten UK citizens routinely shunned British tourist attractions, with one in eight of those blaming the cost.
More ammunition I think for reducing the UK VAT rate on accommodation and attraction prices, and perhaps another argument for retaining a tourism company that can target marketing messages at groups such as the Scots to encourage them to dip their toes in Torbay’s waters and enjoy all that a holiday at a British seaside resort has to offer, including ice lollies.
No sooner are we getting into the new routine of the recess and Parliament is about to go into session again. Not through a recall but the now regular return for two weeks before breaking up again for the three week Party conference season.
I’m tempted to start a sweepstake each summer on who will be the first to go to the press and argue for a recall of Parliament. Alternatively one could bet on what the likely cause behind the recall is likely to be.
Foreign affairs are always the firm favourite not least I suspect because Parliament is very good at debating subjects over which it has very little influence. In my experience the less influence we have over an issue the more calls for debating time.
That’s not to say we shouldn’t discuss events on faraway places over which we have no jurisdiction, after all we are senior members of a number of international bodies that do have some influence.
As usual the recess has been a wonderful opportunity to get out and about and visit all those groups and organisations I can’t fit in on Fridays or meet during the week when I’m in Westminster.
It is also an opportunity for less pressurised time for meetings with the heads of organisations that serve my constituents.
In the past few weeks I’ve had meetings with the Chairman and acting CEO of the Torbay & South Devon Health Care Trust, the CEO of the Clinical Commissioning Group, senior managers of the two largest social landlords in the bay, the South Devon Coroner, council officers and many others.
Recess also affords time to meet constituents and most rewarding has been the warmth of reception I’ve received knocking on doors across the constituency and chatting to people.
Congratulations to all those A level and GCSE students who have mostly been put out of their agony with the publication of their results.
Congratulations to those who got the A level grades to get them into university in a year where more students are going to start degrees than in 2010. Yet the majority of school leavers don’t go to university, they go to college and their achievements deserve just as much credit.
Without mechanics and builders, engineers and laboratory technicians, chefs and electricians where would we be. The academic/vocation divide is an unhelpful one made worse by the media’s focus on students going to university rather than college.
So well done equally to all.
A great first home game of the season at Plainmoor had me cheering for Cameron – Courtney Cameron of course, who scored Torquay’s third with a wonderful chip over Welling United’s keeper.
I think we can expect a few more wins this season than last. Hopefully enough to challenge for a place back in the football league.