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.
Follow my twitter feed tomorrow morning beginning at 10am to get exclusive details on tomorrow’s #shuffle13 #cdnpoli— Stephen Harper ( @pmharper) July 15, 2013
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.
Looking forward to welcoming 8 new faces to the Ministry this morning #shuffle13 #cdnpoli— Stephen Harper ( @pmharper) July 15, 2013
Proud to be naming four new strong, capable women to the Ministry later on today. #shuffle13 #cdnpoli— Stephen Harper ( @pmharper) July 15, 2013
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.
Pleased to name @michellerempel Minister of State (Western Economic Diversification) #shuffle13 #cdnpoli— Stephen Harper ( @pmharper) July 15, 2013
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:
I’m deeply humbled to join the cabinet of @pmharper as Minister of State for @WD_Canada. Canada’s economic growth is priority for our gov’t— Michelle Rempel, MP ( @MichelleRempel) July 15, 2013
To the young women of this country - we can make it in #cdnpoli. Run for office. #glassceilingsaremeanttobebroken— Michelle Rempel, MP ( @MichelleRempel) July 15, 2013
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:
At 39, Harper’s new cabinet is tied with Mulroney as the largest in Canadian history. http://t.co/wjIQ9FmGe2— Josh Visser ( @joshvisser) July 15, 2013
this is quite fascinating. @pmharper is announcing his cabinet shuffle on twitter: https://t.co/onnx6PwHtS #cdnpoli— Steve Paikin ( @spaikin) July 15, 2013
Fyi, @pmharper has now appointed more women to cabinet than any other PM. (Record previously held by Chretien.) #cdnpoli #shuffle13— Susan Delacourt ( @SusanDelacourt) July 15, 2013
12 women now sit around the fed cabinet table, a historic 1st and over 30% of @pmharper’s cabinet. More EV commentary:http://t.co/ox9Ye3OTKr— Equal Voice National ( @EqualVoiceCA) July 15, 2013
And MPs started tweeting messages to each other and congratulations too.
@Michael_KC_Chan thanks Michael— Bal Gosal, MP ( @BalGosal) July 15, 2013
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@example.com