I'm glad to see that Jo Swinson has been praised for the way she uses Facebook and Twitter to keep in touch with her constituents.
I enjoy seeing her tweets coming in from Prime Minister's Questions, giving her perspective on what's going on, recounting something that we tv viewers wouldn't see. I like the way she asks for opinions on various issues via Facebook and Twitter. Both she and Sandra Gidley have recently asked for suggestions for Parliamentary questions, too. Jo has also been part of the Speakers' conference on diversity, aka how do we get the House of Commons looking less white, male and middle aged and she's tweeted from their meetings.
Her use of social networking gives an as it happens view of the life of an MP - whether she's speaking in Parliament or visiting a business in her constituency. She also shares some of her private life with us - I know, for example, that she went to see the new Harry Potter last night and was even happier to do so knowing that Daniel Radcliffe, who plays Harry, has said he supports the Lib Dems.
Don't for a minute, though, think that Jo is so welded to her keyboard that she's given up on the face to face stuff. She is one of the hardest working, dedicated people I've ever met and she spends pretty much every spare moment knocking on doors in East Dunbartonshire. I know people who moved there just over two weeks ago and already they've had a visit from one of the Swinson Team.
All credit to Jo for using technology to make herself more accessible. Jo's informality and approachability both in person and online is very genuine. I think part of the success of the way she uses these things is that you get the real Jo, however you talk to her.