IT teacher employed as Twitterer-in-residence

SOMETHING TO SAY: Darlington IT teacher Mike McTimoney has become the country's first Twitter-in-residence

SOMETHING TO SAY: Darlington IT teacher Mike McTimoney has become the country's first Twitter-in-residence

First published in News The Northern Echo: Photograph of the Author by , Deputy Business Editor

A COLLEGE lecturer has become the first person in the UK to be employed as a town’s writer in residence on social networking site Twitter.

IT teacher Mike McTimoney has been chosen as Darlington’s first Tweeter-in-residence after a call went out for the town’s most prolific twitterer.

Similar to an artist-in-residence, Mr McTimoney, who twitters under the name of TheDarloBard, will post tweets to keep people upto- date with what is happening in the borough.

It is hoped the lecturer, who teaches at the town’s Queen Elizabeth Sixth Form College will join the so-called Twitterati – popular celebrity twitterers such as Stephen Fry, Philip Schofield and Jonathan Ross – and gain an army of followers.

The appointment is linked to the Darlington Experiment 2.0 (Dx2), a website which hopes to promote Darlington by encouraging people to upload videos, photographs and messages about life in the town.

The website, thought to be the first of its kind dedicated to a single town, was launched in September. It channels all videos posted on the internet about the town from other sites such as Flickr, YouTube, Twitter and Facebook.

Mr McTimoney, who is to be paid £140 annually for the role, said: “I am really into social media and all the fantastic opportunities the internet offers – so I thought this would be an interesting thing to do.

“I think it is great to be the UK’s first twitterer in residence and I hope other towns will follow suit.

“I deal with young people on a daily basis and think this is a great way to get important information to them.”

Andy Atkins, a member of the Darlington Partnership which is funding Dx2, said: “More and more people are communicating using digital and social media and we want to reach as many people as possible.

“We are already running Dx2 – which is Europe’s biggest social media experiment – and having our very own Twitterer was a natural progression.

“Darlington is a lively, interesting place to be and the aim of our resident Twitterer is to maintain and generate a conversation about what’s going on and what people are talking about in the town.”

Visit darlingtonexperiment.

org.uk to view some of the videos and pictures already featured.

Anyone who would like their videos, photos or tweets to appear on Dx2 is asked to tag them with the phrase ‘darlingtonexperiment’ when they are uploaded to YouTube, Twitter or Flickr.

What do you think of the tweeting trend? Does Darlington need a Twitterer-in-residence to keep residents up-to-date? Have your say below.

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