UK Prime Minister, David Cameron, Sends First Tweet

David Cameron, the British Prime Minister, has sent his first tweet. Despite joining Twitter in January 2010 his verified account had never tweeted anything — until a few moments ago, when he said this:

The “too many tweets…” comment is a reference to a radio interview in 2009 in which Cameron was asked for his views on Twitter, and whether he might start tweeting, and he replied: “The trouble with Twitter, the instantness of it – too many twits might make a twat.” (The Guardian has a video clip of the moment here.)

Use of the word “twat” on a live breakfast radio show got Cameron into a spot of instant hot water — and he subsequently apologised for his choice of words.

The PM’s office tweets coalition government-related policy pronouncements and updates from the @Number10gov account. But of course Cameron can’t use an official government channel to discuss Conservative Party-specific issues — hence his need to kick-start @David_Cameron.

Why Cameron feels the need to open up a personal communication channel now — with the specific aim of discussing his role as leader — can be explained by growing rumblings of discontent in the Conservative party about the direction of his leadership.

A report in today’s Guardian notes that two of Cameron’s most senior cabinet colleagues are backing a group calling for a major overhaul of his leadership strategy.

Conservative party traditionalists have been angered by his attempts to modernise party policy — which makes it all the more apt Cameron has taken to Twitter — the epitome of a modern digital communications medium — to try to silence his critics. This is ‘put up or shut up‘ in the social network era.

Update: Cameron’s second tweet, sent within hours of the first — nailing his colours to the Tory modernising mast (by announcing £140m in red-tape busting funds for NHS nurses) — is a textbook example of photo opportunity politicking: