Politweet ran two censuses of politicians’ followers on Twitter, on December 4th 2011 and February 25th 2012. Based on the results it became clear that followers fell into 3 categories:

1) Suspended – Twitter includes suspended users in the list of followers. It is not known whether these suspended users eventually get deleted, our data from 2009 shows that a follower count constantly increases

2) Dummy – these are users who have 0 tweets and 0 followers. They may be automated bots or accounts created for the sole purpose of passive consumption of tweets

3) Inactive – these are users who have shown no change in their activity stats (tweets, friend count) in the last 3 months. They may have stopped using Twitter entirely, or switched to passive consumption
4) Active – users who have tweeted or followed/unfollowed others in the last 3 monthsThese charts are based on active followers because they are the ones most likely to spread information within the Twitter network.

The country of residence for each user was derived from their stated location and in some cases, language and time zone. Time zone was used minimally because most users leave it at the default (Alaska) and many users state the wrong time-zone. For example, we found 2500 users who stated their time zone as Beijing. Based on the names, location and latest tweets from a sample, we found that most of them are actually Malaysians. So we had to avoid using time zone to determine location. The country could not be determined for 413,271 users.

For the most part, both political coalitions have minor percentage differences for their followers. Barisan Nasional (BN) active follower base is 2.22 times larger than Pakatan Rakyat’s (PR), so for most countries BN has more followers. However when it comes to Indonesia, PR has attracted more followers than BN. Anwar Ibrahim is the main contributing factor as 2,381 or 40.96% of PR’s Indonesian followers only follow him.

That is the only point worth noting for now, but as we run more censuses we should be able to determine growth trends among followers.

Ahmed Kamal
29th March 2012

Summary of the data, from census done between February 25th – March 1st 2012

There are 636,949 followers in the total population. 274,328 (43.07%) are active.
BN has 512,433 followers. 226,844 (44.27%) are active.
PR has 239,767 followers. 102,134 (42.60%) are active.

*numbers shown are count of users

Barisan Nasional (BN) followers
MY 121055
Unknown 97924
ID 1386
GB 1310
AU 858
DE 662
SG 661
KR 609
US 573
JP 294
IN 210
EG 209
TH 154
BN 147
RU 115
CA 94
TR 76
FR 71
AE 69
NZ 64
IE 56
PH 52
BD 47
CN 46
PK 43
HK 33
NL 26

Pakatan Rakyat (PR) followers

MY 52881
Unknown 39336
ID 5812
GB 891
AU 679
SG 487
US 368
EG 251
KR 170
JP 166
IN 130
TH 111
PH 106
DE 103
PK 78
TR 78
RU 75
BD 63
CA 55
HK 49
BN 46
NZ 45
AE 39
CN 35
IE 32
FR 25
NL 23

Published On: March 29th, 2012 / Categories: Analyses, Social Media / Tags: , , , , , /