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
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.
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
Pakatan Rakyat (PR) followers