The Twit-election: It's the conversation, stupid

Aug 18, 2010
The Twit-election: It's the conversation, stupid
This word cloud shows Twitter posts by Malcolm Turnbull MP during the time of the researchers' study.

(PhysOrg.com) -- When it comes to Saturday's federal election in Australia, Twitter users are clear: politicians who spend time in conversation get most out of the platform, and the Greens are exploiting this better than the major parties, according to an Australian National University study.

The study, led by Dr Will Grant of the Australian National Centre for the Public Awareness of Science at ANU, analysed the Twitter feeds of 152 Australian politicians to measure their influence on the social networking site and how they are using it to connect with voters.

The researchers found that overwhelmingly, conversation online was what added to a politician’s influence on Twitter, and that the Greens were more effectively using Twitter to engage with Australians than Labor or the Coalition. That dialogue with voters means the Greens’ views are being dispersed to a wider audience through ‘retweets’ and their party is getting more political space online than they have received in the mainstream media.

Dr Grant - aka @willozap on Twitter - said that by using Twitter for dialogue with Australians, the Greens are extending their reach to voters beyond the conventional media.

“Greens politicians are more likely than those in either the Labor party or the Coalition to use Twitter for political dialogue,” said Dr Grant. “And those politicians who engage in dialogue through Twitter get statistically more out of it, because their are more likely to be retweeted - passed on or endorsed.”

“The lesson for politicians and their parties from this research is that if politicians want people to pass on their ideas, then they need to engage in conversation. If they don’t, they’ll be either ignored or ridiculed.”

The researchers also looked at comparative mentions for political parties in the Twittersphere set against what those parties had received in , and found that minor parties were punching well above their weight.

“Where previously the Greens have garnered less than 3 per cent of the traditional media attention given to politics, in Twitter they’re gaining more attention, getting around 12 per cent of mentions of Australian politicians.”

The researchers’ paper, ‘Digital Dialogue? Australian politicians use of the social network tool ’, will be published in an upcoming issue of the Australian Journal of Political Science.

Explore further: Study gives high marks to NC Pre-K program

Provided by Australian National University

not rated yet
add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Beautiful politicians win more votes: study

Dec 07, 2006

Beautiful politicians win more votes, according to Australian National University research released today that asked an independent group of ‘beauty raters’ to assess the looks of 286 major party candidates who ran in ...

Twitter to overhaul user list seen as partisan

Nov 17, 2009

(AP) -- Social-networking site Twitter plans to end a service that links prominent message posters with new users, a service that was criticized in California because of perceived unfairness toward GOP gubernatorial ...

Internet activists push for greater democracy

Nov 25, 2009

(AP) -- The Internet can be a powerful medium for politicians to get their message across but it is also a vital means for civilians to have a say in what politicians do, participants in a political conference say.

Recommended for you

Online reviews: When do negative opinions boost sales?

11 hours ago

When purchasing items online, reading customer reviews is a convenient way to get a real-world account of other people's opinions of the product. According to a new study in the Journal of Consumer Research, negative review ...

User comments : 0

More news stories

Online reviews: When do negative opinions boost sales?

When purchasing items online, reading customer reviews is a convenient way to get a real-world account of other people's opinions of the product. According to a new study in the Journal of Consumer Research, negative review ...

Low Vitamin D may not be a culprit in menopause symptoms

A new study from the Women's Health Initiative (WHI) shows no significant connection between vitamin D levels and menopause symptoms. The study was published online today in Menopause, the journal of The North American Menopa ...

Astronomers: 'Tilt-a-worlds' could harbor life

A fluctuating tilt in a planet's orbit does not preclude the possibility of life, according to new research by astronomers at the University of Washington, Utah's Weber State University and NASA. In fact, ...