British PM Cameron joins Twitter despite reservations

Cameron amassed nearly 80,000 followers within a day/XINHUA-File

BIRMINGHAM, United Kingdom, Oct 7 – British Prime Minister David Cameron has set up his own Twitter account, despite once saying that he would avoid the website, and amassed nearly 80,000 followers within a day.

Under the handle @David_Cameron, the Conservative leader sent out his first tweet on Saturday night on the eve of his party’s annual conference in the central English city of Birmingham.

“I’m starting Conference with this new Twitter feed about my role as Conservative Leader. I promise there won’t be ‘too many tweets…'” Cameron wrote on the account, which has been verified by Twitter.

The 45-year-old father of three had once said he did not want to post his own messages because he was worried that “too many twits make a twat” – mangling the term for a Twitter message, called a tweet.

Lebanese Prime Minister Najib Mikati was the first foreign leader to welcome him – electronically – to the social networking site.

By late Sunday he had sent a total of three tweets, two of which were accompanied by photos of himself at a hospital and at a television studio.

Cameron was on Sunday also busy increasing the number of people he follows.

On Saturday night there were only four – the Conservative Party, Foreign Secretary William Hague, Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt and London Mayor Boris Johnson – but by Sunday that had increased to 34, all Tory lawmakers.

The official Twitter feed for Cameron’s Downing Street office has 2.1 million followers but it is written by staff members, not the prime minister.

Cameron has a while to go before he beats opposition Labour leader Ed Miliband, who has about 165,000 followers – and even further before he gets close to US President Barack Obama on more than 20 million.

AGENCE FRANCE PRESSE

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