David Cameron has been forced to make a swift apology for his choice of gynaecological language while talking about the social networking service Twitter during a live radio interview.
Asked by the Absolute Radio presenter Christian O’Connell whether he used Twitter, the Tory leader said politicians that used the service risked appearing like (look away now if you are of a delicate disposition) “twats”.
“The trouble with Twitter, the instantness of it — too many twits might make a twat,” he said.
Cameron was attempting to explain why the immediacy of the service, which uses regular bulletins or ‘tweets’ of 140 characters, fails to allow enough time or space for profound thought.
He went on to say the soundbite culture was, however, still relevant. “In the media age, you have to work at communicating something complicated in a simple way, otherwise you are not going to take people with you,” he said.
For communicators, be they politicians, company bosses, football managers or anyone else trying to get their message across, this is an important skill and one that, indeed, needs to be worked at.
The 17th century French philosopher and mathematician Blaise Pascal understood the importance of reflection and deliberation when communicating. He wrote in preface to one of his letters: “I am sorry I have had to write you such a long letter, but I did not have time to write you a short one.”
Cameron may not yet be a member of the Twitterati, but I’m sure his media handlers will be advising him to take more time when saying less.