Danish tweetocracy

Recently, a (modest) number of Danish politicians have begun using Twitter to communicate directly with the world outside parliament – the only limitation being Twitter’s 140 character limit. As this trend gained pace, a site called Twittertinget.dk appeared, aggregating all Danish politicians’ “tweets” in one website. Plainly put, you see everything “they” tell “us”.

We were inspired by this direct channel between politicians and citizens. The fact that a conversation bypassing mass media and press secretaries (assuming they don’t need a spin doctor to write 140 characters) could happen, is genuinely new.

But then we thought: Wait a minute! Isn’t Twitter all about conversations? Instead of presenting politicians with yet another one-way channel, could we build a forum where all Danes can speak their mind to members of parliament, allowing them to listen and reply directly, whenever they have the time?

Then we built it. We hatched the idea last Thursday, built it over the weekend, added design and copy early this week, ironed out a few kinks, and brought the whole thing online at Folketwinget.dk last night:

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Folketwinget basically gathers all tweets that @-replies to any Danish politician or political party on Twitter, as well as any messages tagged with #folketinget, #folketwinget, or #ftwinget. In this way, it is possible to experiment with a rudimentary form of Tweetocracy. Check it out!

(for the more technically inclined among you: We have made the code running Folketwinget.dk available under an open source Apache 2.0 license on Github. Check Steffen’s blog for further details on installation and configuration)