UPDATE: Those who would prefer a more cerebral analysis (without another list!) should check out Sunder Katwala’s post from yesterday.
In the wake of Tweetminster’s report on Twitter and UK politics, Left Foot Forward have re-ordered Iain Dale’s list of the “Top 20 Labour Twitterers” using Edelman’s TweetLevel service. One of the headline findings from Tweetminster’s research was that Labour’s twitter presence is composed of a broad movement of activists rather than “official” accounts and key players in the party machinery. This is reflected in Dale’s list, based purely on follower numbers, by the conspicuous absence of a number of key left-wing influencers such as Jessica Asato and grassroots activists like Kevin Peel.
Nine months ago, follower numbers may have served as a decent rule of thumb for comparing the relative reach of different tweeters (see Blackburn Labour’s list from April). In January 2010, however, better methods to measure influence are available that are based on metrics such as re-tweets. These have been developed by startups like Tweetminster and communications professionals such as Edelman who have thrown not insignificant sums of money at their development and (unlike Iain Dale) don’t have an axe to grind:
Labour bloggers have been happily retweeting all evening that the next election on Twitter will be between the “Tory machine” and “Labour’s grassroots activists”. This was the way Tweetminster put it in their report, published today. Assuming that party officials, candidates and MPs are defined as the “party machine” I’d say Tweetminster have got it the wrong way round judging by these two lists. Twelve out of the Top 20 Labour tweeters are in the party machine, compared with 11 Tories.
Iain Dale blazed a trail to become the UK’s first “name” political blogger in large part by burnishing his credentials as an independent thinker: ”Tory but not slavish”. The above paragraph, however, is an insult to the intelligence of his readers and a good example why many of Scrapbook’s politico friends have stopped reading him.
Below is an update of Left Foot Forward’s list, including many tweeters absent from Dale’s original numerology. The numbers in brackets are the score given by TweetLevel. Of course, if you’ve been missed off then let Scrapbook know in the comments.
Aww, how tweet!*
UPDATE II:** The original list above is now updated below to include many Labourites that were left off (and Sunny Hundal)! The statistician George Box said that “all models are wrong, but some are useful”. In this vein, a few people were the first to admit their surprise at making this list, seeming to uncover some issues with the TweetLevel metrics. But, even discarding such outliers completely, such tools nevertheless reinforce Tweetminster’s findings that the Labour grassroots take the lead in the party’s efforts online.