Self professed lefty Alberto Nardelli and co at
Tweetminsterhave a pretty sweet set up going - essentially they are paid to sit on the sofa all day watching their Tweetdecks. A hundred grand of funding has bought them less than ten thousand followers on Twitter and an estimated forty thousand page views per month on their website. However the media is still a sucker for Twitter stories, hence why their report in to engagement by MPs and wannabee MPs this week got
coverage.They do try to keep up a semblance of impartiality but the figures about Labour's twitter following beggared belief.
Essentially the report said the CCHQ operation has the most influence of the party machines, where as Labour grassroots use Twitter a hell of a lot more. Given that they have been paid so much to run the service by a public affairs agency
Politics Directyou think they would have bothered to do their sums properly.
Tweetminster saythat Labour is collectively followed by 113,201 users (p4) - with MPs followed by 91,061 users (p9) and PPCs by 22,140 (p12). This assumption is based on two extremely unlikely factors:
- Not one of the followers follows more than one MP or PPC each.
- Not one Labour MP follows another.
Tweetminster are inflating the figures by counting people who follow MPs and PPCs together. It is no coincidence that 91,061 + 22,140 = 113,201. A simple look at any prominent Labour tweeter would show you they follow multiple MPs and PPCs, rendering the Tweetminster figures dud. Are these all counted as uniques?
Are the Conservative figure be similarly affected? It would definitely take a knock, but with many fewer Conservative MPs on Twitter (16 to Labour's 65) the effect would be far smaller. Most Tory PPCs on Twitter are followed by very small numbers so it wouldn't take much of a knock that way either. The idea that Labour are some how the kings of Twitter with a vast army of online followers takes a bit of a hit in light of the fact numbers have been cooked up.
Stick to the Wii chaps.