Analysis of Conservative MPs on Twitter

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In the second of my series of posts about politics and social media, I look at the Conservative Party and their use of twitter to try and find out whom the title of Tory Twitter Tsar should go to.

As the Conservative Party conference was taking place I began to map out Conservative Party MPs on twitter and explore the online relationships that exist between them. However, what became quickly apparent is that there just aren’t that many Conservative MPs on Twitter – 12 to be precise, compared to over 30 Labour MPs. I’ll talk more about Political Party social media differences next week but it’s difficult to not take note of this disparity.

So anyway, back to the Tories. Grant Shapps is by far the most influential Conservative MP on twitter, both across Twitter as a whole and within the cluster of his Party Peers.  This is undoubtedly because he seems to be the only one who follows his followers.

For better or worse, Twitter friendships are more fickle than Russell Brand’s love for his latest girlfriend. However, you can maximize the potential of your Twitter followers and build loyalty by reciprocating their ‘follow’. But be warned, you don’t want to set up an ‘auto-follow’ for everyone who follows you because if you’re not careful, you‘ll quickly be following hundreds of people promising you Britney porn and various ‘make money guaranteed’ messages.

The fact that the BBC’s Question Time now becomes a trending topic on Twitter whenever it’s on TV (generating hundreds of Tweets every couple of minutes), shows that the platform has significant potential to engage the Twitterati in political debate.  Something that you would imagine all political parties would want to take note of.

Lastly, it’s interesting to note that less than 9 months ago Grant Shapps had no MP friends but now he’s the man to ‘follow’, demonstrating that building a constituency on Twitter can take less time and effort that doing so from the stump.

League table of Conservative MP’s twitter influence (according to Twitter grader):

Following Followers:
Grant Shapps  – @grantshapps 2639 2737
Edward Vaizey  – @edvaizey 90 862
Douglas Carswell  – @DouglasCarswell 7 749
Eric Pickles  – @EricPickles 23 954
Michael Fabricant  – @Mike_Fabricant 250 797
David Evennett  – @davidevennett 224 675
Nadine Dorries  – @NadineDorriesMP 43 558
David Mundell  – @mundelld 64 460
Adam Afriyie  – @AdamAfriyie 1 395
David Jones  – @davidjonesmp 22 219
Andrew Rosindell  – @AndrewRosindell 11 218
Graham Stuart – @grahamstuart 19 30

*MP list taken from Tweetminster week commencing October 5th 2009

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