Many American readers won't have noticed - why should they? - that the UK is in the middle of the lead-up to a General Election. We don't do it like the Americans, we elect our Members of Parliament, the leader of the majority party becomes Prime Minister automatically and our second chamber, the House of Lords, is full of appointees and hereditary peers. We don't elect a President - technically the monarch is still Head of State.

So much for background. What's really interesting is that for the first time social media is playing its part - and even more interestingly, who's using it and who isn't. Our current Prime Minister, Gordon Brown, doesn't, but his wife Sarah does.

One-offs aside, it looks as though the incumbent Labour Party has more MPs on Twitter (65) than the opposition Conservatives (16). The third party of any significance, the Liberal Democrats, have 23. In terms of prospective MPs - candidates who aren't yet elected but hope to be by the end of May (when we must have an election) - there are 78 Conservatives on Twitter, 63 Labour and 42 Liberal Democrats. My thanks and acknowledgment to the Tweetminster page for those figures.

You can only hope that nobody's geeky enough to vote purely on someone's adoption of some sort of network. It's been entertaining, though, to watch senior politicians grapple with the new media. In May last year Prime Minister Gordon Brown tried to smile naturally on YouTube and was roundly ridiculed, even by members of his own party, while a couple of months later would-be Conservative Prime Minister David Cameron tried to make a joke about Twitter, unaware that he was using mild swearing in doing so. He was forced to apologise immediately afterwards.

P. S. And don't check your papers to see if we get our own 'Obama moment' - none of our possible Prime Ministers have as much charisma as he has!

I think Obama started it and now every dignitary will follow suit. Embracing social media will now be a natural part of any political outreach - just like mobile will follow suite soon.