Social Media Experiment

So yesterday I decided to undertake a little bit of an experiment on Twitter. I thought I would see how quick the parties Twitter accounts would respond to a question about policy. Now I wanted to pick a policy area that is rather obscure, but not so obscure that they wouldn’t be able to find the answer in a reasonable period of time. I am not going to comment on the content of the policy. Also a reply of “we don’t have a policy on that” would have counted as much as a link to a policy in my assessment. So the question I asked was:


I sent the same tweet to the National Party, Labour, Greens, New Zealand First, Maori Party, United Future and the Internet Party. The things I was looking to measure were if they replied, if so how quickly they replied, and the way in which they replied. As at 2130 on Monday only 4 parties had replied. UnitedFuture, Greens, Labour and New Zealand First.



I was impressed at the turn around UnitedFuture had. Under 2 minutes for the first tweet. I like how they replied with a quote from the policy, then followed it up with a link to the actual policy as well. Good to see them using the full stop at the start to make sure that everyone who follows them sees it, as opposed to just those that follow them and myself.




The only thing that has made the Green response look slow, at 6 minutes, is the fact that UnitedFuture got in under the 2 minute mark. But I think 6 minutes for a semi obscure policy is a pretty good effort. I like the fact they mentioned it was in their clean beaches policy, becuase if I had clicked the link and ended up there I might have thought it was the wrong link. It would have been nice if they had included a key quote from policy, but still that is being a bit nit picky.




Labour took 11 minutes, which is still a very quick turn around. I like how they directed me to the specific part of the document they linked too, so I knew exactly where to look. They also took the same approach as UnitedFuture and included a short quote about the policy.


New Zealand First:


The last party to reply, at this point, is New Zealand First. They just have a link, and they took 3 hours to reply. 3 hours is a bit slow, but it is still within what I would call an acceptable time frame.



I was highly impressed by the very quick replies from UnitedFuture, the Greens and Labour. I was expecting them all to take around 30 min. To have two parties with sub 10 minute responses and 1 with just over 10 minutes is a great sign that parties are taking social media seriously as a means to promote policy and engagement. One fact that jumps out at me is that the party I associate the least with effective social media, UnitedFuture, is the only one to use the fullstop at the start, this means that for the Greens, Labour and New Zealand First, only the followers who also follow me will see the tweets. So they are limiting the number of people who will see the engagement. But they will still be getting better message reach than those parties who haven’t replied.


I as expecting the Internet Party to at least reply. But they haven’t. The rest of the parties, I am not really that surprised to have not heard from. Act have only just seemed to have rediscovered Twitter, the Maori Party are a bit stop start with Twitter, lots of retweets and favs, but not a lot of engagement. National have started to engage a bit more, but are still very much in broadcast mode. But the responses I did get were rather impressive. So there is hope there.