The next election will be between the Conservative party machine and Labours grassroots activists (on Twitter at least)

Press Release : January 27, 2010
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www.Tweetminster.co.uk today released a report on UK Politics and Twitter, analysing how politicians, parties and the political media are using the service.
The report analysed over 830,000 tweets during the course of 2009. It showed that collectively the Labour party has more followers (113,201) than both the Conservatives (36,874) and the Liberal Democrats (32,202) combined.

With 17% of parliament on Twitter, there are now more MPs tweeting than there are ones blogging. 59% of MPs on Twitter are Labour (23% Liberal Democrats and 13% Conservative), with the partys Media Campaigns Spokesperson, Kerry McCarthy (@kerrymp), resulting as the most active, mentioned and retweeted MP on Twitter, followed by fellow Labour MPs Tom Harris (@tomharrismp) and Tom Watson (@tom_watson). For the Conservatives, Grant Shapps (@grantshapps) and Eric Pickles (@ericpickles) are amongst the 20 most retweeted MPs, Liberal Democrats Jo Swinson (@joswinson) and party leader Nick Clegg (@nick_clegg) also make the same list.

Amongst the 223 PPCs on Twitter the differences between parties are far narrower. The majority, 38%, are Conservative, yet Labour PPCs collectively have more followers 22,140. The top-three positions for most active and influential PPCs are also shared between the two parties: Labours Paul Smith (@bristolwestpaul) and Luke Pollard (@lukepollard), and Conservatives Louise Bagshawe (@louisebagshawe) and Rene Kinzett (@ReneKinzett).

The report also analysed media, journalists and influencers. While established media, like The Economist, The Guardian, Sky News and the Financial Times top the list for most followers, journalists (Channel 4s @krishgm), bloggers (@timmontgomerie and @iandale) and activists (@bevaniteellie) receive more mentions and retweets.

Tweetminster included in the report their 5 top-findings based on the data collected:
1 In terms of politicians, the Labour Party dominates all key metrics collectively Labour MPs and PPCs are more active, more frequently mentioned (i.e. have greater reach) and have more followers than the two other main parties combined.
2 Senior party members can play a critical role in connecting with members of the public: Nick Clegg and Eric Pickles standout in all tables well above their partys average metrics.
3 – The findings for official party accounts show a different picture the Conservatives not only have significantly greater reach than the other main parties, their posts tend to have greater distribution (i.e. mentions and retweets) than established media and key bloggers.
4 The data shows that the Conservatives are more effective at distributing their message from the top, yet less so at a grassroots level in terms of spreading these positions within conversations (this should be the work of supporters, MPs, PPCs). While Labour has the opposite challenge members drive conversations, yet the official line doesnt strategically trickle down. The Liberal Democrats are somewhere in between while the data is in-line with expectations, and reach-wise the party punches above its weight when looking at the number of followers, their challenge is breaking into conversations that go beyond party supporters, especially in terms of how these then influence the mainstream media agenda.
5 While as expected established mainstream news sources have a higher number of followers than bloggers and commentators, individual journalists and bloggers receive more mentions and retweets.

This is probably due to a combination of factors – including that the latter are more engaging, post different angles and commentary around a story, and established sources tend to broadcast links (that followers may click on but not interact with the source) or stories that followers have caught up with elsewhere. Comparatively the blogospheres of the two main parties show relatively similar figures in terms of followers and reach.

Alberto Nardelli, Co-founder of Tweetminster said:

Based on our data we feel that the next election (on Twitter at least) will be between the Conservative party machine and Labours grassroots activists.

He continued;
Individual journalists will be interesting to follow, beyond the media organisations they represent, will play a critical role in influencing how a message is framed.
For the full report go to: http://www.scribd.com/doc/25769228/Twitter-UK-Politics-a-Tweetminster-Report

For more information, or to arrange an interview with Alberto Nardelli, please contact Gabrielle Lofthouse, 10 Yetis Public Relations Agency on 01452 348 211 or gabrielle@10yetis.co.uk

Further Information

TweetMinster
TweetMinster.co.uk is a service that tracks UK politics in real time, showcases Members of Parliament and Prospective Parliamentary Candidates on Twitter, and ultimately promotes better and more transparent communications between voters and Members of Parliament.

TweetMinster is a public service project developed by Thin Martian and UnLtdWorld.com

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