New technology and a new government

The news came at about 5 p.m. this afternoon. The Prime-Minister was resigning! I was on twitter at the time and there was of course, an immediate reaction.

Within seconds there were tweets flying around about the possibilities of  a Lib-Lab pact. There was even a colleague who had missed the early part of the developing news and wanted to be kept up-to-date using tweets.

This was exciting politics. The machinations of the politicians as they tried to get a working majority in the House Of Commons was laid bare in front of us. In Victorian times there would have been secret meetings in smoke-filled rooms and like the election of the Pope there would be emergence and then a result of who would rule (at least for a short while).

Now there is the opportunity for all to see the global news network and the instant news machines tell us their news and for us to comment on it instantly. This is the big change that social networking has brought about.

When the Twitter Profiles went down in the midst of it all people were exchanging Tweets and Facebook  was invaded by worried Twitterers who had suddenly been told that their Followers were zero and that they followed zero people!

It all made for a real excitement about unfolding events. This is the sort of thing that has changed our world. We are not passive receivers of news anymore but make it, share it and debate it in the forum that is national and even international (there was a Tweet from someone in the U.S. reacting to Gordon Brown‘s decision to resign).

For the young people who have witnessed the workings of our democracy and the realities of political bargaining and possible coalitions over principles (or lack of them) this was really informative. Yet Twitter is banned from many schools.

I have tried to argue with people that there is real educational potential in pupils having access to this powerful medium but I am told that they would spend all their time tweeting and not doing their coursework. But the machinations mentioned above are about their future and their role within it. We do them a disservice if we ban them from access to this forum, especially at a time like this.

Maybe the new government will have new ideas about new technology. I doubt it but one thing is for certain they cannot ignore it!

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