the green party are twits…

on May 4th Deidre De Burca put out a twitter message where she said:

You’ll soon be seeing my environmentally friendly election posters from sustainable, Irish forests.

I responded to Deidre’s tweet:

@deirdredeburca can you send some pics of the poster deidre

what happened then was this [courtesy of irish election]:

…. a ‘conversation’ between the Green Party’s Twitter Account and Peter Donegan. It’s was about Senator Deirdre de Burca and the way she might tweet at you .  It’s all one way traffic and no replies to those who ask question or look for info and well the Green Party tweeter defended Deirdre and compared her to Barack Obama’s twitter account.  Oh dear.  Stephen Spillane  rounds up the conversation for our consumption.  That’s the thing with social networks – it’s meant to be a conversation – not a megaphone!

But what happened was De Burca came back with this blog post

Funny thing is there is no mention of me at all…. and I am still none the wiser about Deidre’s super dooper election posters….

With that in mind Deidre does note that she

would need a full team of staff to look after my electronic communication alone in order to be able to respond to everything I receive

Funny thing is she has 286 followers. Barack Obama has 1,086,275.

Secondly Eoin Ryan MEP has 414 followers, he spoke with me yesterday. I don’t get it at all maybe I’ll ask young Laura Mc Gonigle who really does know how to use online media to great advantage or you might say takes the time to deal with those who choose to communicate with her in that manner.

What was my original query that nobody answered… ?


it’s seems I’m not the only one wondering what on earth The Green Party are doing when it comes to online medium [click here]. This time it is [again without any doubt] just rude.

Can you imagine if I spoke like this about anyone? Would you want to work with me…..? more to the point, would you vote for me?


the green party and deidre de burca & her/ their thoughts on….. genetically modified food…- click here hmmm…….?

23 replies
  1. Mark
    Mark says:

    In fairness, Barak Obama has 1m+ followers but he also has a massive campaign team and is after a far larger number of voters.

    Deirdre DeBurca is using Twitter in much the same way as Barak Obama, in relative terms. I don’t think Obama responded directly to any tweets during his campagin, not even his staff did so if memory serves.

    Lets be practical, DeBurca is using Twitter to let people following her know about her campaign, not really for anything else – that’s fair enough, maybe she doesn’t want to bring her personal life into it. That’s her choice. Was Barak Obama sending tweets for any other reason than for his election campaign? I don’t think so. Would you have expected Barak Obama to reply in the way you expect DeBruca to reply? I think not.

    It comes down to what you expect of DeBurca and what you expect of Twitter. Could Twitter be a means of comunicating with voters? Sure. Should it be? Maybe, if all voters were on Twitter. Should you expect DeBurca to prioritise replying to tweets over replying to other queries?

    From her perspective, which would be a better use of time, responding to a question on Twitter or meeting voters in person?

    I think you’re expecting far too much out of both Twitter and Deburca.

    The only hing that irks me about the DeBurcas campaign’s use of Twitter is that it is all written as if DeBurca has written it personally. I don’t think this is the case. This a small country, if enough people follow her on Twitter she’s bound to dump into one of her followers (maybe not this election but in the future)… I’d therefore prefer if the DeBurca campaign either wrote tweets in the third person or signed off tweet written on DeBurca’s behalf by staff with a staff members initial… so if Damien Connan wrote a tweet on her behalf it would read “@DeirdreDeBurca I’m heading to Wicklow to meet older voters, be in twon between 10 and 1pm, do say hello if you’re around (DC)”…

    That would be more transparent and would mean if anyone did come up to say hello following her tweet they wouldn’t end up feeling like gobshites if she didn’t know the tweet had been sent.

    It’s something I’d like to see a lot more politicians use on Twitter, not just DeBurca.

  2. Peter Donegan MI Hort
    Peter Donegan MI Hort says:


    if, you read the *entire* post. The green party mentioned Barack Obama. Not me.

    I have a full time job. I am self employed. I *use* twitter as a 2 way. Why it was invented.

    And btw I just asked a question…. that still hasn’t been answered.

    But sure who am I?

  3. Mark
    Mark says:

    I know who compared who to Obama. Thanks. X. My comment on that was in reply to Suzy’s comment on Irish Election which you quoted. It remains relevant to your gripe at not having DeBurca taking the time out of her day send you a picture of her poster. Like I said, it comes down to what you expect of your candidates who are on Twitter and what you expect of Twitter as a platform.

    Were you expecting a reply immediately? Is the fact you are on Twitter mean you should be given priority over a voter with a question on a doorstep or one who wrote the candidate a letter? What exactly were you after?

    The fact she has only a tiny a percentage of the number of followers Obama has is largely irrelevant. She also has a campagin team that is a tiny percentage of the one that Obama had, therefore the time investment is relatively equal.

    This just goes to underline how little value Twitter is to politicians unless they are prepared to invest large chunks of time into it – something I wrote about on IrishElection previously. If an Irish politician used Twitter in the way you seem to expect them to it would just make Twitter a massive time-sink on their part, the effort to return ratio simply is not there. It’s a decent tool to use a a news feed, not as a campaign tool – unless they invest time in the way you wish.

    You state – “I have a full time job. I am self employed. I *use* twitter as a 2 way. Why it was invented.”

    You use Twitter for your own reasons, DeBurca and other such politicians use them for another. You say, well, at least it appears you say – I’ll paraphrase “Twitter was invented as a two-way system”. Maybe it was invented for that but it has evolved other time. Personally, I follow quite a number of news outlets and aggregators that only supply me with news on topics I’m interested in. These don’t reply to me, but they let me know about things I’m after – they’re a news source. DeBurca’s feed is much like these, a news source on her campaign – if that’s how she wants to use it, so be it. It’s quite obvious politicians must prioritise, is it worth their time reply to people on Twitter, or would they be better off knocking on doors?

    You highlight Eoin Ryan as making good use of Twitter but you fail you notice all he was say “Hi” a briefly worded response plugging his campaign. One tweet, no effort. You asked DeBurca to go off and get you a link to a poster of hers – which requires time and effort – he might have replied to you but it wasn’t to the same question that you asked of DeBurca. Also, note the Ryan has an intern who I believe runs most of his online presence, maybe it was him replying personally, maybe not. Laura McGonigle is a different species altogether, she’s on Twitter because she seems to enjoy it, it’s a personal account with a slight bit of info about her life as a young politician as far as I can make out, DeBurcas and Ryans are simply professional accounts.

    The last part of your comment is strange, “but sure who am I?” Well, who are you? You’re a voter, so are however many hundreds of thousands of people looking for a slice of DeBurca’s time though.

    And by the way you asked for a picture of the campaign photos, if you’d followed the link at the end of the original tweet DeBurca sent out then clicked the Flickr link on the press release it brought you too you would have seen the Flickr link with snaps of the posters

  4. Peter Donegan MI Hort
    Peter Donegan MI Hort says:


    i got to ‘what exactly are you after….’

    this is my weblog. I have been polite. I ask you do the same.

    I’ll end my discussions with you here.

    If in future you would like to leave a comment so long you might write a blog post and refer to this one.


  5. Suzy Byrne
    Suzy Byrne says:

    Point of info – Deirdre De Burca also has an intern doing new media stuff and The Green Party have a dedicated new media officer for the party organisation including the 6 tds and 2 senators/MEP candidates.

    I do believe that Politicians using Twitter should be very clear from beginning if they plan to respond to queries from those they follow or that follow them. In Deirdre’s post today it’s clear now she’s going to use Twitter for broadcast and that’s fine if people know that’s what it’s for. I think there are people who expect the transfer of ‘on the street canvass queries’ to twitter. The ready accessibility of Irish politicians outside of social media may lead us to think it will transfer over but that may not be the case. Also it’s clear that there’s a rush to the tools by some without testing them out or seeing how others use them.

    I spoke to a politician last week about the importance of realising that the reach of twitter extends beyond the number of followers – as the followers have friends and colleagues (aka voters) who they talk to about ‘knowing’ from Twitter. Also Twitter profiles are searchable and are public ‘conversations’ – so mainstream media will find them interesting also.

    BTW I don’t think that Peter was looking for an immediate answer from Deirdre (maybe he unlike me didn’t realise from reading her previous tweets she was not going to answer! Its not the first question that Peter has asked a politician and he’s got responses.) but the resulting conversation looking for info from @Greenparty_ie on Deirdre’s twitter account brought the story in a different direction completely and indicated that there was not going to be an answer.

    I’ll reply to Deirdre’s post myself in the next day or so but realise there’s a campaign to be run – a discussion of all this may be useful at the next social media and politics conference.

  6. Eoin Kennedy
    Eoin Kennedy says:

    For a lot of people Twitter is still at stage one – using it as a broadcast mechanism. What I think this shows is that people underestimate the time needed to move to stage two – interaction – but also that there is real value that can be derived from conversation. I imagine there is still value of winning people at one vote at a time.

  7. Dan Sullivan
    Dan Sullivan says:

    Peter, I’m not disagreeing that people will probably get more out something like twitter if they interact more. Yet I have to say that reading that initial tweet which was sent to someone on what was after all a Bank holiday Sunday looking for links to posters and then coming again 2 days later with what reads, to me at least, like a quite huffy follow-up wouldn’t have too many rushing out to interact with you.

  8. Peter Donegan MI Hort
    Peter Donegan MI Hort says:


    if you look at the timeline [and Suzy Byrne’s Comment] I wasn’t expecting a reply immediately……. but I got one [see timeline again] from *THE Green Party*. I didn’t expect one from Deidre de Burca. But I didn’t expect that from the green party either.

    As i said Dan….. still waiting for an answer to my question. The only thing *I* have expected.

    is that too much?

    ps: she has never answered any tweet. ever. not even 2 days later.
    and out of curiousity where did you detect ‘huffy’.

    ps2 do better research and read *every* tweet – not just the ones from ‘some’ blog 😯

  9. Dan Sullivan
    Dan Sullivan says:

    Pete, I’m reading what is on your post above and reading from left to right we have a tweet from Deirdre then one from you asking for pictures, then another from you 2 days later. Then two in a row it seems from the GreenParty finishing up with one from yourself.

    Is there something missing here?

  10. Dan Sullivan
    Dan Sullivan says:

    Sorry, just after finding the time to read through your twitter history to find the relevant tweets.

    It is a bit odd that you post on your blog about this with selective and it would seem unrepresentative (of the timeline at least) tweets and we, the poor readers, are supposed to trawl back through days of tweets from you do find the entire history. You realise that you asked for pictures and then within 30 minutes you sent this

    which would seem to be belie your claim that you weren’t expecting an immediate reply. I’m not going to bother reading any further since this part of the premise of your argument is gone.

    I think it would be preferable if Deirdre de Burca and others were to engage more via twitter but it’s up to her how she chooses to use it. I find it peculiar that there would appear to be a twitter police telling people how it must be used while at the same time many of the same people are railing against the equally stupid notion of regulation of how blogs should behave. They’re just tools and it’s up to people to use it as best fits their needs and circumstances.

    You tweeted her and she didn’t respond as you would have liked, get over it.

  11. redmum
    redmum says:

    Firstly its not difficult to respond to people, seriously its not and don’t let anyone tell you any differently. No one could expect someone particularly a politician in the middle of an election campaign to come back to everything, I imagine no one is sitting on Twitter 24 hours a day and that includes politicians. But I do feel on a very basic level that if someone on twitter has added you (even if they haven’t) and asks a question or makes a comment that it is only polite to respond.

    Of course particularly with politicians someone could keep coming back and back and its not possible to have a debate, well not massively possible, over 140 characters. But again there are ways of handling that and as Suzy says tweets extend beyond your followers so there are many reasons why people should respond.

    Regarding De Burca’s twitter policy it strikes me as arrogant more than anything else, not least the comparison with Obama, never mind the I’m too busy to respond. And lets be clear its not as if all (nearly) 300 followers are going to be getting back to her on every tweet! They won’t but responses to direct questions is important, otherwise why are you using the service?

    But hey at the end of the day if they cannot realise the full potential of the service or use it as others do and discover the potential along the way, more fool them.

    I am also struck by the level of antagonism in the comments, why?

  12. Peter Donegan MI Hort
    Peter Donegan MI Hort says:


    I [initially] did want info on your recycled posters which would have made a good blog post.

    Thanks for stopping by.

    fair points. well made. and thank you very much.

    It is a gardening/ greeney and a very happy place] type weblog, usually. I didnt really sign up for the antagonism, to quote your comment, that came with.

    think i’ll go and hug a tree now…
    slán agus beannacht

  13. Deirdre de Burca
    Deirdre de Burca says:

    If you are asking me for a copy of my poster which has just started to be hung up around the constituency then fine, I’ll send you a PDF when I am ready to. But it certainly wont be for another week or two until the printer is finished with it. Delaying gratification is very character-building. Stop being so impatient!

  14. Aido
    Aido says:

    Why are you sending traffic to her blog?

    I’ve just read her post and its an utter cop out.

    She is not the only person in the world who gets multiple emails and tweets etc. If she can’t manage those simple tasks … as for the have pity WTF?

  15. Pat Phelan
    Pat Phelan says:

    @Deirdre de Burca
    a very condescending reply there from you Deirdre
    Surprised that a politician of your “long standing” would reply with this “smart alec” stance
    could have all been solved with “be with you in a few days Peter”
    “stop being impatient” just doesn’t do it for me

  16. Ben
    Ben says:

    Oddly enough, after reading a lot of the nit picking from commenters, it comes down to the following

    Deirdre de Burca on May 7th, 2009
    What is it that you want from me Peter?

    Peter Donegan MI Hort on May 7th, 2009
    I [initially] did want info on your recycled posters which would have made a good blog post.
    Thanks for stopping by.

    Deirdre de Burca on May 7th, 2009

    If you are asking me for a copy of my poster which has just started to be hung up around the constituency then fine, I’ll send you a PDF when I am ready to. But it certainly wont be for another week or two until the printer is finished with it. Delaying gratification is very character-building. Stop being so impatient!

    IF you are in fact Deirdre de Burca, i would’ve thought it clear what Peter wanted, anyone can just remove one of your posters if they so wanted. Peter likes trees and all that goes along with it and wanted information on the recycling aspect of it all. If you didn’t understand that then sadly, that’s my vote you just lost. I would’ve thought it was ronseal…

    What could have been a blog post supporting your campaign and your use of ‘green’ materials has been an opportunity lost.

    good luck with conquering europe.

  17. Thomas Geraghty
    Thomas Geraghty says:

    I’m no bigshot green now, don’t get me wrong, but when someone asks me a question I answer them. If you aren’t as kind as me and don’t then that’s fine too, just don’t insult your voter’s intelligence with lame excuses. Also, just because B. Obama didn’t use twitter properly it doesn’t make it okay for other polititions not to, I know I’m not the only one feeling betrayed at the radio silance on @obama post-election.

  18. le craic
    le craic says:

    Just an observation – and I’m not being nit picky or anything – just giving my ha’penny..

    The tweet on 3rd May from Deirdre had a link to the blog post all about the posters.. And, as Mark already pointed out – there was a link in that post with photographs of the posters.

    So, did you even click the link in Deirdre’s tweet and read the post? It not only had exactly what you were looking for (photograph) – but it also has information on the environmentally friendly nature of the posters – which would appear to be what you actually wanted in the first place (I’m reading that from the reply you’ve given to Deidre’s asking what you wanted from her).

    If I was interested in the posters, I’d have clicked on the link and read the information. Was the whole point in Tweeting Deirdre to back up the mutterings and rumblings over the past while from social media know it alls about the way she chooses to use the medium?

    I tell you one thing about Deirdre from the last election. she was the only candidate I know of from any party who actually went round on a door to door canvass in my area. Neighbours were impressed with her. I’ve also had occasion to contact her about local issues via email, and she’s always been helpful and responsive.

    I hope you’ve read this far and don’t think I’m being impolite in anuything I’ve said – I’m just calling it as I see it.

  19. Peter Donegan MI Hort
    Peter Donegan MI Hort says:


    true re the pics… but they were a bit ‘for the papers’ so to to speak…. i kinda wanted an ‘eco-ee’ pic, if you get me. Poster being made type. pulp etc..

    I think what happened was the ‘subject’ matter went off the radar – original point a bit to be honest… and I just wanted a ‘tree huggers’ story.

    No offence taken and thanks for stopping by mate 🙂

    slan go foill

  20. David Quaid (SEO)
    David Quaid (SEO) says:

    What a joke! Her blog post is so over dramatic. She’s only following 406 people – you dont get your followers tweet in your twitter stream, just those you follow! So half the people she decided to follow have decided to follow her back – how embarrassing, forgetting that her post and this post are also so embarrassing.

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