Will the Twitterati get out and vote? If they do, will they make a difference?
There’s a lot to play for in #GE16, a lot of unknowns, and nobody really knows whether popularity on social media will translate to actual votes.
At a glance, Sinn Féin’s Gerry Adams seems a clear winner in the popularity stakes gaining 4,822 new followers over the course of the campaign. But Gerry Adams had nearly 100,000 followers to begin with, more than double that of his closest rival Taoiseach Enda Kenny. A large following tends to attract a large number of followers. Still, 4,822 in a month is impressive and it’s nearly three times the number gained by Kenny who gained 1,661 over the same period.
Researchers from the Insight Centre for Data Analytics have been tracking the Twitter progress of candidates as part of their Insight4Elections data analysis project. Twitter activity by and about candidates, numbers of followers, follower trends, you can delve into it all using the Insight4Elections webtool http://insight4news.ucd.ie/
When the Insight4Elections team looked at the number of followers gained in proportion to the number of followers the leaders started out with, the picture changed quite considerably.
Stephen Donnelly was a clear winner with a 14.9 per cent increase in followers over the course of #GE16.
People Before Profit’s Richard Boyd Barrett was next with an increase of 10.4 per cent. Gerry Adams increased his following by 4.9% while Enda Kenny and Lucinda Creighton each increased their following by 3.9%.
Will it make a difference? We’ll soon find out, and Insight researchers will be using voter data to see what we can learn about the relationship between Twitter and media coverage during a campaign and what happens on polling day.
Twitter follower increase by numbers:
Gerry Adams (Sinn Féin) 4,822
Stephen Donnelly (Social Democrats) 2,938
Enda Kenny (Fine Gael) 1,661
Richard Boyd Barrett (People Before Profit) 1,303
Micheál Martin (Fianna Fáil) 1,179
Joan Burton (Labour) 990
Lucinda Creighton (Renua) 809
Eamon Ryan (Green Party) 522
Twitter follower increase by proportion:
Stephen Donnelly (Social Democrats) 14.9%
Richard Boyd Barrett (People Before Profit) 10.4%
Micheál Martin (Fianna Fáil) 7.5%
Joan Burton (Labour) 6.8%
Gerry Adams (Sinn Féin) 4.9%
Enda Kenny (Fine Gael) 3.9%
Lucinda Creighton (Renua) 3.9%