Twitter Stats: A more detailed look

As you will know, I have been doing a weekly post on Twitter statistics for the week. This is focused on which MP is sending the most tweets each week, or has gained the most new followers. However, the data I am collecting has lots more information and insights that can be pulled out of it. I spent a bit of time on Saturday afternoon/evening having a look at some of it data, and seeing what I could find. This is where the following comes from.


This first graph is the average number of tweets sent in a week by each party’s MPs. It is not really that surprising that the Greens are leading the stat, but what is surprising is how much they are leading it by. Bar the one week where they behind Labour, the Greens are ahead by at least 4 tweets. There are a number of weeks where their average is more than double the next party. Now they do have a smaller number of MPs than either National or Labour, which means one or two highly active MPs will lift the average, but there is obviously more to this average than a couple of highly active MPs.

per MP per week by party


One of the things I noticed while compiling the data over the last few weeks was the number of MPs who sent no new tweets week to week. There is a correlation between the peaks on this graph, and the large troughs on the above graph, and the Easter/ANZAC Day non sitting week. This is to be expected with the average tweets per MP metric, however, I would suggest the ANZAC Day is one day where most MPs should be tweeting at least something, therefore I would expect there to be a trough over that week, or at least for it to track along with the overall trend.


Zero tweets


Now some will be saying it isn’t fair to compare raw numbers, because National is likely to always have more MPs on zero tweets, simply due to their higher number of MPs on Twitter.


National still has the dubious honour of having, as a %, the most MPs on Twitter who sent zero tweets in a week. Even in their best week, they still have 15% of MPs not sending any tweets. This compares with the Greens worse weeks, which are also around 15%. Labour also have some pretty quiet weeks. The Greens are the only one of the three parties being measured who have weeks where all of their MPs have tweeted. Now, this is obviously going to be easier for the Greens to achieved, due to their lower number of MPs, however, due to their smaller size, it would be a lot easier for them to get a high % of their MPs not tweeting, yet they are consistently the most active.


Zero tweets as percent


These stats are, trend wise, about what I expected. What I didn’t expect was the high numbers. I was not expecting weeks where 1 in 4 Labour MPs and nearly 1 in 3 National MPs who are on Twitter did nothing at all on Twitter.


The one metric where National is hanging in there and keeping up with the rest is the average new followers per MP. This stat is pretty close across most weeks. However, it is worth noting that John Key has had the most new followers pretty much every week, bar last week, where it went to Judith, and he has been gaining triple digit followers a week. This will have had a significant effect on the overall average. My rough calculations indicate John Key’s new followers alone could have lifted the average for National by as much as 6-10 per week. Without this impact, National would be well below the other parties most weeks.

followers per MP per week by party


With 48 MPs on Twitter, including more Back Benchers, 23 by my count, than most other parties have MPs, National should be in with a good show of leading the average tweets per MP, as well as not leading the stat for the most MPs with zero tweets. The other parties all have a up and down trend in their activity, where as the National Party are consistently sitting around the same average level of Twitter activity.


I suspect the party strategists and leadership in National are looking at John Key’s 108,000 followers on Twitter, and 100,000 likes on Facebook,  and concluding that they have a solid base to connect with. This matches with their focus on having John Key front so much of the policy announcements and campaign type events.

I did some quick calculations, if an MP sends one extra tweet every day, which is 7 extra tweets a week, and each of those tweets gets seen by 5 extra people, that is 35 more people a week seeing content from that MP or that party. That doesn’t sound like many, but for Labour, that would be equal their message in front of 1050 more people a week, or around 15,750 between now and the election. For National that would equal 1680 more people a week, or around 25,200 between now and the election. When you start to see figures like that, that can result from a free service that only needs less than 5 minute of an MPs time per day, the potential returns seem to be out there, waiting to be taken.