When a Prime Minister live-tweets a cabinet reshuffle

Monday, 15 July 2013

A cabinet reshuffle is a big deal in the news cycle — but Canada’s Prime Minister Stephen Harper (@PMHarper and @premierministre) took things to a new level. He became the latest world leader to live tweet a breaking news story — taking the facts direct to the electorate.

He live-tweeted to his followers in both French and English, reflecting Canada’s distinct political makeup. Harper posted more than 50 tweets from @PMHarper and @premierministre.

To begin he told his followers that he would be tweeting the announcements as a teaser to help build up interest.

Then the key announcements came thick and fast. As scheduled, he began sharing his news. He opened with a few Tweets to set the stage for his announcement.

The announcements — 39 in all — were then quickly announced in a series of Tweets. The first was Michelle Rempel MP (@MichelleRempel) as new Minister of State.

Rempel then used Twitter to reply and comment on her new job, which not only notified her followers about the position but put it in the wider context of politics and women in Canada:

Harper posted regular announcements using the #shuffle13/ #remainiement13 hashtags, giving Canadians a way to follow the conversations, and they did not go unnoticed.

In fact, those watching on Twitter commented on the historic nature of both the announcement method and roster of ministers:

 And MPs started tweeting messages to each other and congratulations too.

Just as happened with the President of Argentina recently, when you break news on Twitter, users will flock to your account. Here’s what happened to the followers of @PMHarper and @premierministre in one day. The combined followers of @PMHarper and @premierministre grew by nearly 3,000 followers — eight times his normal daily follower growth.

Have you seen any more innovative uses of Twitter in government? Mail us at [email protected]