MLAs and MPs are using Facebook and Twitter to communicate with constituents rather than more traditional methods such as e-newsletters, according to research published today by Statagem and #BelfastKlout. 96% of MLAs surveyed stated that they engage with constituents through Facebook while 82% communicate through Twitter.
#BelfastKlout uses social media analytics to rank its users according to online social influence via the “Klout Score”, which is a numerical value between 1 and 100. In determining the user score, Klout measures the size of a user’s social media network and correlates the content created to measure how other users interact with that content.
“What’s good about klout score is that it is not determined by the number of tweets or followers. It measures your actual influence on social media” said Inga Norvilyte of LoveBelfast.
Van Morrison has a klout score of 86 and Rory McIlroy has 85 rank the highest in social media influence as an indivdual in Northern Ireland. So how do you think our politicians compare….
Sinn Fein Party – 87
Gerry Adams – 66
Martin Mcguinness – 64
Basil McCrea – 63
Gerry Kelly – 59
Conal McDevitt – 58
Peter Robinson – 58
Jim Allister – 58
DUP party – 58
Paul Maskey – 56
Phil Flanagan – 56
John O Dowd – 55
NI21 Party – 55
Nigel Dodds – 55
Sammy Wilson – 54
Michelle Gildernew – 54
Alliance Party – 54
Ulster Unionist Party – 54
SDLP – 54
Edwin Poots – 53
Chris Lytlle – 52
Joanne Dobson -52
Conor Murphy – 52
Naomi Long -51
John McAllister 51
Mike Nesbitt -51
Well, the figures speak for themselves. There’s one political party that is way ahead. Sinn Fein with a score of 87 is actually the biggest social media influencer in Northern Ireland and beats UTV social media who’s score is 84 and the Belfast Telegraph.
Individually though, politicians are not doing so well and fall well below journalists, local celebs and sports stars. But social media will play greater part in any future election and its interesting that new parties like #NI21 and Basil McCrea score higher on social media than more traditional parties that are basically non existent and will have to improve their social media presence
Most notable amongst the new Tweeters is deputy First Minister Martin McGuinness MLA who joined the Twittersphere in February 2013 and already has a klout score of 64.
The SDLP has the largest percentage of MLAs using Twitter, at 93% – Environment Minister Alex Attwood MLA being the only SDLP MLA still not tweeting.
The UUP has the second highest percentage at 85% – down from 87% since September with the loss of Basil McCrea MLA and John McCallister MLA.
The Alliance Party now has three quarters of their MLAs using Twitter with the addition of Trevor Lunn MLA since September. But these party still remain to see improvements in their Klout scores that remain average and below.
Sinn Féin sees the highest percentage increase in users – 64%, up 19% on September, followed closely by the DUP with 63%, up from 47% in September.
Claire Flynn from Stratagem explained:
“We now have 77 MLAs using Twitter – some using it more imaginatively than others. Many of our MLAs use social media as a tool for informing on policy rather than opening up two-way communication with constituents. A real opportunity exists to use social media channels for direct political engagement”
A February 2013 poll from Kinetic Worldwide revealed that close to one third (28% of all UK internet users are now active on Twitter. Overall, Facebook has almost three times the rate of users of Twitter with 72% of all internet users active on Facebook.
As the social media population is generally considered more politically engaged than the rest of the population- are our politicians exploiting their full interactive potential or have we lost interest in Northern Ireland politics.