TECHNOLOGY SPECTATOR: The perils of caging Twitter

With Twitter growing up, governments need to take it more seriously. Misguided attempts to regulate its use are not a good start.

Technology Spectator

In a classic case of confusing the medium with the message, the Victorian parliament last week launched an inquiry into the use of social media within the gallery.

The inquiry will explore if restrictions or guidelines should apply to the media, public and members using social media to comment on proceedings. In other words, should we put rules on the use of Twitter use by people interested in our democracy?

The move prompted this comment from state Labor member Martin Foley, who argues it’s tantamount to "taking the community down a digital dead-end of command and control”. Instead, he says, the Victorian Parliament should look to the principles behind Barack Obama's Open Government directive, where transparency, participation and collaboration are the primary goals. 

The inquiry is set to be a lengthy process with submissions not closing until mid-February next year.

Meanwhile, Twitter continues to grow at a rapid rate. In 2011 Twitter reached 100 million active users, with around 2 million of those coming from Australia.

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