He hadn’t even posted his first tweet but Tony Windsor yesterday racked up over 1000 tweet followers before 7pm.
And his Facebook page found almost as many friends in that short space of social networking life.
For a man who’s never had a computer on his desk, this year’s election is a new era in the digital social age for the member for New England.
In a stark contrast to the times to now, the former farmer has stuck to the basics – pen and paper and loopy running writing are what his staff have been used to.
The only sign of the digital age has been a buzzing Blackberry phone that often beeps non-stop.That is until now.
“I think I’m smart enough to work out how to use it,” Mr Windsor said last night, when asked if he’d has some lessons in how to use Twitter.
So, just as Prime Minister Julia Gillard dropped a bombshell that the country is headed to the polls on September 14, Tony Windsor joined the masses on Twitter.
It didn’t take long for the crowd to follow, by 3pm the local MP had notched up 500 followers online. As the afternoon rolled on the followers kept coming, creeping close to the 1000 mark, the New England MP reached rockstar status without a word, or a tweet.
He will this morning, but he wasn’t giving too much away last night about what that first, famous tweet might be. “I have given it some thought,” he said.
There has been no doubt Tony Windsor is a man in demand. He was parachuted into the political limelight when Australia waited the 16 long days for a new government to form after the last federal election. Since then national media has been no stranger to the 62-year-old from Werris Creek.
Locally, ABC, Prime7 and NBN are often called upon by their city counterparts to get the independent’s view on anything from asylum seekers, to the carbon tax, to the rolling opinion polls on each of the leaders.
His view is often thrown in the mix on every political debate facing the hung
Now the only trouble the longstanding MP will have is keeping his comments short.
Twitter only allows tweeters 140 characters to have their say.
“Well, that might be a bit difficult. But one character at a time,” he said.
The sudden jump onto the Twitter bandwagon could be seen as an attempt to keep up with the digital election, set to rock and roll for the next 228 days.
But Windsor is not alone. His sparring partner Richard Torbay is a daily tweeter, as is Inverell-based Senator John Williams.
KRudd, Julia Gillard and even fellow independent Rob Oakshott all keep their followers up to date on the days events via the social medium.
Mr Windsor said he’d been too busy to do it all up to now but a young female speaker at his Tamworth forum in December suggested he go down that track and others suggested he should be “on this thing”.
So now we have to wait with bated breath for the first tweet from, ahem, with the greatest respect to our esteemed parliamentarian, the new “twit”.