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Friday, 6 January 2012

Blackbusters: does Ed Miliband even type his own tweets?

People are already speculating about what might be on the mind of the leader of the opposition after a mistyped tweet appeared on his Twitter stream this afternoon.  The tweet (since deleted) read:
"Sad to hear that Bob Holness has died. A generation will remember him fondly from Blackbusters."
.. When of course he meant Blockbusters. Since 'a' and 'o' are at opposite ends of the keyboard speculation is rounding on two theories.  Whoever typed the tweet had black on the mind after the Diane Abbott controversy from Wednesday, or some spell checker has auto-corrected the tweet.

Taking a closer look at @Ed_Miliband's twitter feed shows all the twitter updates I studied were submitted "via web".  This indicates Ed Miliband or whoever updated twitter did this via the website and not via an app on e.g. a mobile phone, in which case it would say something like "via Twitter for iPhone"

Firstly this almost certainly rules out spelling auto-correct.  It just doesn't happen on most web browsers.

But also it took my mind back to the 2010 General Election when I did some investigatory work on whether MPs and candidates updated their own Twitter or got staff to do it.

I spoke to the campaign offices of several MPs and studied the twitter streams. By far the vast majority of candidates willing to admit to having shadow tweeters had their updates submitted "via web".  No idea why but it just was.

Those who updated their own usually did so via a mobile twitter client of one form or another.

In fact I put it to the office of my local MP Jeremy Hunt, and was told Jeremy updates his own twitter with occasional updates by his office staff, and confirmed the updates "via web" were done by his office.

A busy man like Ed Miliband surely has to tweet on the go, via his phone?

Of course if Ed Miliband uses an iPad or similar tablet he might just prefer the web interface to an app.  But having used a tablet this way myself it's far more convenient when e.g. uploading pictures taken on the tablet to use an app.

Ed Miliband is a man on the move, yet I could find no updates via any kind of phone or mobile device.  Again he could just about navigate Twitter on a tiny phone screen; I've tried it - it's not convenient. Far better to use the mobile version of the Twitter website, in which case the update would say "via Mobile Web" (see this test tweet here) - not the case for Ed Miliband's tweet stream (from the sample I studied this afternoon).

And then there's the photos - pictures obviously taken by a third party whilst out and about but updated "via web".  See herehere and here and for examples.  How inconvenient to transfer from a camera or camera phone and update via the web interface of an iPad, mobile phone or laptop whilst out and about.   Why not use an app? Or does Ed Miliband have an assistant typing all hist tweets?

Circumstantial I know but it must be worth a punt on Ed Miliband not being personally responsible for #Blackbusters.


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