In a move that runs counter to the open nature of Twitter, Texas Governor Rick Perry has blocked several members of the Texas media from accessing his Twitter account.
Twitter has been a difficult beast for many politicians to tackle. It has led to a number of scandals and public feuds when short tempers couldn’t stop themselves from furiously typing 140-character diatribes. On the other side of things, many politicians still struggle to attract followers. And while Twitter is apparently trying to get Washington on board by using political liaison Adam Sharp to teach them beneficial Twitter habits, one lesson has apparently been lost on Governor Perry.
Try following @GovernorPerry right now, and we’re sure you won’t have a problem. Unless, that is, you are part of a group of Texas journalists.
According to DallasNews.com, several members of the Texas media have been blocked from following Governor Perry’s Twitter account.
DallasNews.com’s Tom Benning reported that he was presented with the following message when he tried to follow the Governor:
“Could not follow user: You have been blocked from following this account at the request of the user.”
Twitter does enable users to block any other users they choose from following their accounts. This involves going to the profile page of the person you want to block and choosing “Block” from a dropdown list just under their bio.
So, if Benning really is blocked, Governor Perry would have had to single him out. And we know that it was Governor Perry himself who blocked Benning, because Benning contacted his press office and was informed that the Governor has sole control over his personal Twitter account.
According to Benning, at least two other journalists were also blocked from following the Governor.
This is an interesting choice on the part of Governor Perry. He has singled out members of the media and denied them access to his Twitter account. However, it is pretty easy to get around a block – you can simply use someone else’s account, and Benning notes that other journalists at his publication have access.
Governor Perry is sending a message that runs counter to the open nature of Twitter with his actions. He obviously wants to keep his timeline private from some of the media – while leaving it open to the over 35,000 people who are already following him.
The Twittersphere didn’t take too kindly to this revelation. Searching for @GovernorPerry displays tweets related to this blocking, as opposed to anything he might be doing politically today. Here are a few of the reactions:
@dallas_news @GovernorPerry if you don’t want people to read your twitter… don’t have one. Selective blocking as a politician is bad mojo.
MeanRachel has seen this before:
The habit @GovernorPerry has of blocking media on twitter is nothing new. @omarg & I wrote about it in Oct: http://bit.ly/bj4E2P #txlege
And Rschrim shrugs:
I guess you pissed him off RT @dallas_news: So @GovernorPerry blocks some media members from following his Twitter account. What’s the deal?
Most political pundits and Twitter users would likely brand Governor Perry’s blocking-spree as a poor choice for a politician. It sends a message that he has something to hide, which is never a good association for someone who is managing the public coffer.
What do you think about Governor Perry’s choice to block some members of the media?