Earlier this week there was a lot of discussion about an apparent ban on Liberal backbenchers having access to Twitter. On the 9th December the King of political Tweeting, Kevin Rudd, tweeted:
“So Tony Abbott is banning Liberals from Twitter freedom… welcome to #21stCenturyAbbottStyle KRudd”
I’ve done some analysis of the Twitter-sphere as it concerns both the Australian House of Representatives and the Senate with some interesting results.
The Senate Twitter enrolment for 2007 (including territories) was only 52.5% compared to 2010 which increased to 60%. The current House of Representatives is a much stronger 70%.
First of all, the Liberal Party and the Liberal National Party of Queensland, rather than being the social media luddites that some have made out this week are actually better represented on Twitter than the Labor Party. The total conservative percentile including the Country Liberal Party (NT) and the Nationals at 65.1% was also higher than the combined Labor percentile. The only party that was totally represented were the Greens and the lowest total was the Nationals on 36.4%.
Figure 1: Twitter Usage by Party (as a Percentile). Data sourced from Twitter. The Independent percentile also includes the single member for the Democratic Labor Party (DLP) of Australia.
Who had the most followers (as at 12/12/2012)?
No surprise that it wasn’t the PM but it’s interesting that both former leaders, Kevin Rudd and Malcolm Turnbull have larger followings than the current PM or leader of the opposition.
Both deputies (Wayne Swan and Julie Bishop) were included in the top 10 as was the foreign minister (Bob Carr, who coincidently had the most followers of anyone in the Senate) and the Minister for Minister for Employment Participation – Minister for Early Childhood and Child Care (Kate Ellis). As previously mentioned the Opposition Shadow Minister for Communications and Broadband (Malcolm Turnbull) was third while the Shadow Treasurer (Joe Hockey) was fifth.
At number eight was Adam Bandt, the only House of Representative Greens Party member. With 53,007 followers if Bob Brown had still been in the Senate he would have ranked 5th above Joe Hockey.
Outside of the top 10, Barnaby Joyce had the most Twitter followers from the Liberal National Party of Queensland or the National Party (12,609 which placed him 22nd). Bob Katter had 6,886 followers which put him in 31st place.
With just two followers and a locked down Twitter account Yvette D’Ath had the fewest followers with just 2 ranking her 147th. 79 Members or Senators did not have Twitter accounts.
Table 1: Top 10 Australian Federal Member or Senator sorted by number of followers. Data sourced from Twitter 11 – 12 December 2012.
Who were the busiest tweeters (again, as at 12/12/2012)?
The title goes to the former Army lawyer and now Member for Eden-Monaro, Mike Kelly. The Top 10 tweeters are dominated by those Members and Senators who have chosen Twitter as a vehicle to get their message out and be responsive to questions or requests from the public.
Noticeable by his absence on Twitter was the Minister for Broadband, Communications and the Digital Economy, Senator Stephen Conroy.
What was interesting here was the actual low totals. On average each Member or Senator had just tweeted 1,134 times each. For context as someone who roughly tweets on average 5 – 10 times per day (which is not much compared to others) I’ll rack up about 2,000 tweets or thereabouts per year. The low overall numbers suggest a large part of the political twitterati only tweet as necessary but I’d also suggest there has been a late adoption by many to the Twitter community.
Table 2: Top 10 Australian Federal Member or Senator sorted by volume of tweets. Data sourced from Twitter 11 – 12 December 2012.
I thought a look at twitterati followers by which States they were following would be interesting. As you can see by Figure 2 the graph is completely skewed by a dominate Queensland (aka Kevin Rudd).
Figure 2: Twitter Followers by Federal Member/Senator (All Parties). Data sourced from Twitter.
Although it makes a nice change to see Queensland dominating Kevin Rudd’s tally of 1,177,283 makes up an astonishing 47.1% of all followers of any political persuasion. Thus, here’s a look at the data without Kevin.
Figure 3: Twitter Followers by Federal Member/Senator (All Parties) minus Kevin Rudd. Data sourced from Twitter.
Finally a look at Twitter followers by political party. With Kevin…
Figure 4: Twitter Followers by Political Party of Federal Member/Senator. Data sourced from Twitter.
And without Kevin…
Figure 5: Twitter Followers by Political Party of Federal Member/Senator minus Kevin. Data sourced from Twitter.
As the last graph shows @KRuddMP might be right in having a swipe at Liberal Party discussions around their social media strategy.
Guess he can say what he likes. Given he owns 47.1% of all twitter followers and 58.9% of the federal labour Twitter audience he really does have ‘skin in the game’.