In a new blog post, I describe how to write a news analysis of political social media efforts. In a practical example, I took a look at the Twitter campaigns of Meg Whitman and Jerry Brown. Whitman, former CEO of eBay, and Brown, former CA governor and former mayor of Oakland, are the respective Republican and Democratic candidates in the open election for CA governor in November 2010.
Whitman2010: When Did You Join Twitter? tells me that the Whitman campaign started on February 13, 2009. On Twitter.com, I see that the campaign is following 310 people, has 237,964 followers, and is on 1,583 lists. She has just over 500 tweets to date. A scan of recent tweets suggests that Whitman herself may be tweeting, but most are likely by staff and are broadcast-focused with light interaction.
Historical news coverage tells me that Whitman was a late addition to the Suggested Users list. She has a Klout score of 41 and is characterized by that tool as a “Though Leader.” Grader ranks Whitman at 20,032 of 7,694,703 measured users, with a score of 100.
Twitter Analyzer tells me that only 95,000 of Whitman’s followers are from the U.S. (I’m still looking for a reliable tool to parse location to smaller geographic regions). Her follower growth rate for August is very low. Analyzer has an incredible rich set of tools for digging out information; it tells me, for example, that one of Whitman2010′s Twitter best friends is Mass. Sen. Scott Brown.
JerryBrown2010: Brown’s campaign started Twitter on January 23, 2009. Twitter tells me that Brown is following 853, has 1,106,860 followers, and is on 1,907 lists. He has just under 700 tweets to date, mostly broadcast with light interaction, most of which look like staff tweets.
Brown was an early addition to the SUL. (I personally connected Brown’s campaign to my Twitter network when he had under 1,000 followers, and was at first surprised when I looked back a later in the year to find him at nearly 1 million.) Brown also has a Klout score of 41, and is characterized as a “Persona.” Grader ranks Brown at 17,615, with a score of 100.
Analyzer tells me that just under 410,000 of Brown’s followers are from the U.S. His follower growth rate is actually negative for August; he’s lost nearly 4,000 followers in the last month.
What this quick analysis shows me is that Whitman and Brown are closely matched on Twitter, despite Brown’s huge lead in followers. Without further analysis of recent followers, Whitman’s low follower growth rate vs. Brown’s decline actually indicates that she has moved into the lead in terms of the effectiveness of her Twitter efforts.
Adriel Hampton is a former newspaperman and producer of the Gov 2.0 Radio podcast. He is a Klout Persona with a score of 49 and is presently ranked 14,349/100 by Grader. Follow him on Twitter.