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A Blackberry user thumbs through a menu near Parliament Hill in Ottawa (Sean Kilpatrick/Sean Kilpatrick/The Canadian Press)
A Blackberry user thumbs through a menu near Parliament Hill in Ottawa (Sean Kilpatrick/Sean Kilpatrick/The Canadian Press)

House of Commons approves Twitter, Facebook apps for MPs Add to ...

MPs now have the power of social media right in their palms.

The House of Commons has given the thumbs-up for MPs and political staff to use Twitter and Facebook applications on government-issued BlackBerrys.

While many MPs and staff are already avid users, until now they have had to access the sites through web-based versions.

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The Commons information office is now installing the actual applications, saying in a memo that it's part of improving their own service.

The change has already led to some MPs increasing the number of tweets they're sending every day, and others to finally start using previously dormant accounts.

A recent report on the use of social media by MPs found that about half use Twitter, while slightly fewer have personal Facebook pages.

The most effective MP online appears to be Industry Minister Tony Clement. Metrics that measure online reach suggest he has a more engaged audience than Prime Minister Stephen Harper.

Mr. Clement said in a tweet to The Canadian Press that he hopes having social media on their phones will encourage more of his colleagues to get online.

As talk of a spring election ramps up, would-be MPs are also already active online. Dozens of new accounts are popping up as candidates get chosen across the country and campaign seminars are being held on how to use the various social media sites.

 

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