Twitter is now, by some estimates, the second most used "social networking" service, after Facebook. If you are not familiar with Twitter you may be interested in reading about what micro-blogging is on the Wikipedia page here. Essentially, since all "tweets" (140 character posts) are openly searchable by the entire Twitter population (as opposed to only your friends like on FB), it somehow becomes this engaging view on what the a dozen million people have on their minds. Twitter has definitely gained in popularity in Ukraine and could perhaps provide a few good data nuggets for a Twitter savvy politician. In fact, in the recent turmoil in Moldova and Tbilisi, Twitter was a better source of breaking information than any mainstream media as protesting students alternated between throwing rocks and posting tweets on their mobile phones. So how Twitter savvy are our Ukrainian politicians?
Guessing that the iPhone toting Arseniy Yatseniuk would be the leader in the tech-savvy category I searched for him using "Find People" on Twitter. Sure enough his page came up. He has 5 followers, and is following 3. Of the three he is following, two are CCN Headlines, and the World Economic Forum in Davos. The third is an Olenka2009. There are no updates. There is no link to a personal website which makes me question the authenticity off this page. I tried from the other direction by searching for website first in hopes of seeing a Twitter reference. I couldn't even find a personal website. Where is Mr. Yatseniuk's internet team?
Found his Twitter page where he shows 40 followers, following 0, and 1 update. Yawn.
With very low expectations I searched and found Mr. Yanukovych's Twitter page. I was mildly surprised to see some work had been done on his profile. There is a link to his English language website, The Leader's Diary - V.Yanukovych's Personal Information Server. The Twitter page is adorned with the Party of Regions logo, as tiled wallpaper. Looks like Mr. Yanukovych is ready to go, but so far 7 followers, following 0, and 0 updates.
Prime Minister Yulia Tymoshenko
The PM comes away with the most developed Twitter presence of the bunch. Following 146 and being followed by 67. 99 updates. The "tinyurl" links go to her website. Quite the wallpaper. What's with the roses? Regardless of my personal political opinions of our PM, kudos to her new media team. As a sidenote I noticed that she is the only politician following the new Ukrainian political networking site Politiko.
For purposes of comparison glance at Obama's Twitter site. He is being followed by 883,390, and is following 752,928. There is a link to his website and he has updated 265 times. In fact, a few days after clicking "Follow" (and thus becoming...gasp...so to speak... "an Obama Follower") I received an email: "Barack Obama is now following you on Twitter". Obama, via his minions, was kind of enough to reciprocate. Hopefully our Ukrainian politicians will start following some of the opinions of their constituencies. Opinions issued 140 characters at a time.