Twitter conversation of the day 1 September: Judith, Andrea and Lloyd

I haven’t seen them yet, but apparently there are transcripts/screen grabs of a Facebook conversation between Cameron Slater and Judith Collins. But what I have seen is her taking to Twitter to make claims about them.


Since this is something very hard to prove, proving the negative, it is probably not the best idea for Judith to go on Twitter making these claims without evidence to back it up. What is it that she thinks taking to Twitter like this is going to achieve?


Labour channel Norm Kirk

Apparently yesterday was 40 years since Norman Kirk died. I wasn’t alive at the time, but I have heard lots about him. He is one of those names that go down in political history. Like Muldoon and Lange, he will be talked about long into the future. So it is not really surprising that they tried to leverage the 40th anniversary of his death as part of the campaign.


As of writing this post the image has 613 shares and just under 1600 likes. What is interesting about this is that other than being posted on Labour’s facebook page, there is no Labour branding on the image. I suspect for a number of people, they won’t know who Norm Kirk was. So as they see this graphic, the only association with Labour will be where it was posted. So will this generate a positive return for Labour? Or should they have put something more obvious on the graphic? It has generated a lot of engagement so far, which will help to spread the Labour party Facebook page. It is too early to see any solid flow through into likes, as Facebook takes a while to update the graphs on pages. I think this is going to fall into the same category of game plan that the no animal testing graphics served, which was to generate a high number of shares and other interactions to help spread the party page without having to promote the post.

A closer look at the Twitter Top 100: TV/Radio Journalists

A few weeks ago Bryce Edwards and Geoffrey Miller published their top 100 tweeters to follow this election. There was much discussion afterwards about the make up of the list, and the lack of female or ethnic members on the list. I have been thinking about it a bit as well, and felt that it was worth taking a bit of a deeper look at some of the people on the list. I am going to run this as a series of posts. I plan to look at each of the categories that Bryce and Geoffry used in their column, apart from the ones for MPs. I am excluding MPs because they would be in a list simply for the fact of being MPs. I am also going to take a look at a selection of those mentioned on Stephanie Rodgor’s alternative top 60, plus an addition of my own.


I am going to use Twitonomy stats to look at each person on the list.


Order is as per NZ Herald article.


TV/Radio Journalists.

Patrick Gower. Political Editor TV3.

_patrickgowernz_s_profile____Twitonomy Continue Reading

iSentia New Zealand Election Index

Both Whale Oil and Homepaddock have blogged about the iSentia Media New Zealand Election Index. I suspect others have as well, but that is the only place I have seen it so far. It looks at both mainstream media and social media coverage. I will ignore the mainstream media part. There are people better qualified to talk about that part of it.


First lets look at the graphic:


Let’s firstly assume that the figures are correct, what do they tell us? For the top three the figures are roughly in proportion to the number of followers each account has on Twitter. So the proportion of the mentions seems about right. But this doesn’t tell us if the mentions are active or passive, positive or negative. By active I mean things like retweeting something from the account, or someone actively mentioning the account as part of say asking a question. By passive I mean the account getting tagged in a bunch of tweets that are part of a conversation that the account is only a side part of. There is also no mention of positive/negative sentiment. I don’t expect something like that to be done on a survey like this, but it should serve as a note of caution when assessing this information.


Howver, I am not sure how they are measuring mentions, but some of the numbers seem rather low. I just had a look at Metiria Turei’s mentions in Tweet deck and counting back from around 1030 today to when my tweet, that mentions her, came out at 0845 yesterday, there were at least 110 mentions of her. That did include retweets, which they may not be counting. But even if we say that 1/3 were retweets and don’t count them, that is still 74 mentions in around 24 hours. Times that by 7 and you have 518 Which is markedly different to the number that iSentia have given her. As well, Metiria has a similar number of followers to Russel, so why are their numbers so different? So if these aspects are out, what else is out? This assessment also totally leaves out any mention of Facebook, Instagram, Youtube, which draws the figures into doubt even more.


I plan on trying to contact iSentia on Monday to see if they will provide more detail how they measure their social media interactions. These sorts of metrics, which take a lot of time and effort to compile, offer the potential to tell us a lot about what is happening on social media, but without knowing exactly what is being measured, there is no use to them.

Twitter Stats 29 August


Most Tweets by an MP:

National:  Tau Henare 327, John Key 43, Simon O’Connor 38.

Labour: Trevor Mallard 188, Clare Curran 133, Grant Robertson 79.

Greens: Metiria Turei 295, Russel Norman 129, Julie Anne Genter 127.

NZF: Tracey Martin 49, Winston Peters 23, Asenati Taylor 16.

Others: Peter Dunne 91, Te Ururoa Flavell 45.

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Fashion Week, Maximum Gato and the Internet Party

As many of you will know I have been at New Zealand Fashion Week as a photographer this week. So that is why blogging has been a bit sparse. It is also why I noticed a tweet that was retweeted by the Internet Party account. Recently they started an account called Maximum Gato, which is the name of their party mascot. Maximum has sent a couple of tweets in the last 24 hours or so trying to hook into the talk around New Zealand Fashion Week.


New Zealand Fashion Week is the biggest event  of the year for the fashion industry. It is a chance for the New Zealand fashion industry to get world with attention. This year there are buyers from Inverted Edge, asos and Showroom Seven. There are also media and bloggers from around the world. In the 10 years to 2010, which is the latest figures I can find easily, fashion and apparel exports were worth $230mil a year to New Zealand.


So if you were a party that was keen to see more jobs and more exports from New Zealand, you would surely want to make sure that you did things to support the industry and its biggest week of the year.  Is this something that might be achieved by a political party using the names of well known New Zealand fashion business? The Internet Party are a party that elicits strong feelings on both sides of the political divide. There are people on both sides of the political spectrum who support them, just as there are people on both sides who don’t. But political parties really need to be careful using the names, and trademarks, of businesses in their promotion. As can be seen by some peoples reaction to Dan Carter and Jonah Lomu saying they support National, there can be a backlash on the business, which is not fair when they have not been asked about being mentioned.


The first tweet that the account sent was:

Maximum_Gato__maximumgato__on_Twitter2 Continue Reading

Another curve ball?

This election is looking to be the election of the non politician. So far we have had Kim Dot Com, Nicky Hager, Cameron Slater and David Farrar in the headlines. There has been talk of a focus on personalities and dirty politics over issues of policy. Could it be that there is about to be another, so far rather circumspect, personality inject themselves into the election?


Mona Dotcom has been doing a reasonably good job staying out of the limelight during the election so far. The only time that she has gained much of a profile, or coverage, was during the period around the alleged break up. There was also the family trip to Queenstown where she made appearances in Kim’s photos.


However today she has sent the following, rather cryptic tweet:


It isn’t immediately clear who, or what she is talking about. But one possible reading is that Kim is doing playing happy families and Mona and the kids are no longer a welcome part of the setting at the mansion and that Kim is wanting to move on and focus on his political plans for the country, whatever they may be.


Will Mona Dotcom become that latest non politician to have a major impact on this election? Are the actions of Kim Dotcom, father and husband, going to become an election issue for Kim Dotcom, businessman and political party founder, funder and “visionary”?

Guest blog: Peak Dirty by Lamia Imam

Peak Dirty

There has been much talk of the fallout of Dirty Politics – especially in the realm of Social Media. It has been argued that much of the outrage is limited to social media rather than the wider public. Matthew wrote an excellent post on this last week. However, polls from last night show that maybe it is starting to spill out of the social media beltway and into the “mainstream”. Although that didn’t stop Paul Henry to try and prove the counter point via his daughter. (Viewer discretion advised if you are a politically informed person)

As a millennial, I have a large presence on social media. At least the ones that count – Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn. There’s also Instagram (which I don’t use), Pintrest, YouTube, Vine, SnapChat, and Tumblr. We are inundated with options. When I worked on my social media project for the Congressional Research Service a question that came up time and time again was – impact. What is the impact? There are many analytical tools such as a Klout that can quantitatively measure the impact of social media. PR and Advertising firms have been using various models to do the same for many years now. But we found that impact was very difficult to measure in social media. There are many consumers of social media who consume without footprints – that is they don’t “like”, “favorite”, “retweet”, or comment. They are the lurkers who watch and then walk away. How do we measure that? By traffic? How do we know their engagement level? By education? By income?

There will always be a group of people who will dismiss social media and a group of people who believe it is the greatest thing since sliced bread. Let’s take this example for instance:


Giovanni Tiso tweeted this and it has been retweeted 818 times. What is the marginal increase in views as it gets more and more RTs? I have seen it on my timeline at least once a week. How many of the same people are seeing the same content over and over again? How many of us are repeating ourselves to the same audience who already agree with us – for example on discussions of ‘rape culture’, which has been in the public sphere for some time now.

My hypothesis is that the discussion has to reach a peak level before it can spill out. And for it to reach peak level, those who are active have to keep repeating themselves. Once social media is saturated, it then spills on to the mainstream. Example – the talk of white privilege. All of a sudden this week – Fox news is now talking about white privilege. This has been the topic of discussion on social media for at least 2 years.

Let me give you another real life New Zealand example – asset sales. I worked in Labour during the 2011 election. One can argue that the entire 2011 election was about asset sales. It was the flavor of the campaign. Labour (and Greens) ads heavily emphasized the opposition. As a staff member I felt I lived and breathed asset sales. I wasn’t even the advisor assigned to that portfolio and I felt I knew everything about it. So the election ended, the left lost to National & Co. Sometime shortly after the election, at a Leader’s Office meeting our correspondence staff reads out a letter to us from an upset constituent. “Did you guys know that National is planning to sell assets and what is Labour planning to do about it”?

For those who are frustrated that there has been too much focus on Dirty Politics and it hasn’t materialized in voter perception – we are nowhere near the peak.

Lamia Imam (B.A. Hons and LLB, Canterbury) is currently pursuing a Masters in Public Administration at the LBJ School of Public Affairs (University of Texas at Austin), focusing on election law, empirical & financial analysis of public policy, campaigns and public relations.  She previously worked at the NZ Parliament for the Labour Leader’s Office, at the Office of Treaty Settlements, and at the Texas House of Representatives. She has presented, as part of a team of researchers, on the use of social media by congressional committees at the Congressional Research Service in Washington D.C.