I’m not at the Labour party conference, although at the risk of exposing just how much of a politics nerd I am, I really wish I were.
But even though, physically, I am in London not Manchester, I’ve still felt far more engaged with the proceedings this year than in the past. And it’s not because of the Miliband-drama – although that hasn’t hurt – because the same was true during the Lib Dem get together last week.
Why? Simple, really. With the help of Twitter, I’ve enjoyed a step-by-step guide to the conferences.
Whether it has been snippets from speeches, snarky observations about what people are wearing or overexcited MP sightings, the hash tag #Lab10 has kept me more than up to date.
I’ve felt the excitement as the new leader arrived on stage for his speech, read otherwise unreported comments from fringe meetings, and laughed at various off-the-wall offerings. It may not be first hand exactly, but it’s not bad.
Live blogs are great, video footage brings a speech into your TV room. But with Twitter it feels like you are part of it, involved in the discussion and debate.
I’d love to be there in person one year. Still, this serves as another reminder that social networking is far from being a useless and self-indulgent tool. Because democracy is about participation, and Twitter provides a pretty good way of getting involved.