Political Tweeting

Carl Miller, of the Centre for the Analysis of Social Media has written an interesting guest post for Wired.co.uk. Whilst tens of thousands of Tweets are sent each week from UK MP’s and candidates in the run up to election 2015, analysis shows how politicians are failing to engage with the electorate, using it only to speak, rather than to listen.

It appears the most senior members of parliament are the most complacent. ‘Just 11 percent of tweets from Cabinet or shadow Cabinet politicians were a form of reply to a Twitter user, and only 7 percent from the Tory Cabinet. David Cameron, George Osborne, and Ed Balls are amongst a group of high profile politicians who have over the last month failed to reply at all to any Twitter user, despite a deluge of requests about their policies. This is in stark contrast to the most engaged MP on Twitter, Liberal Democrat MP for Westmorland and Lonsdale Tim Farron, who replies to people with 93 percent of his tweets’.

Whilst some politicians may be wary of engaging in Twitter chats due to fear of abuse or ‘doing an Emily Thornberry’ and falling foul of an ill judged remark, it appears that those who do make the time to reply to followers have a receptive audience. ‘Nick Clegg, the Deputy Prime Minister, who has held regular Twitter chats, has received a warmer reaction than any of the other party leaders. Douglas Carswell and Stella Creasy both have strong bases of digital support, and reply to people much more often online – in 32 percent and 33 percent of their tweets respectively’.