Eight of the ten most followed Twitter accounts maintained by members of Congress are held by Republicans, according to a new study of congressional Twitter usage, part of an ongoing series of digital public affairs studies by Burson-Marsteller.
According to the study of all current sitting members of the House and Senate, Republican members of Congress are utilizing Twitter for outreach and engagement at significantly higher rates than their Democratic colleagues. Seventy-two percent of Republicans have active Twitter accounts compared to just 55 percent of the Democrats who utilize the micro-blogging platform.
In addition, Republican members of Congress up for reelection were more likely to have campaign-focused accounts (39 percent) than Democrats (31 percent). Republicans also exceed Democrats in the number of followers per campaign-focused account (4,820 for Republicans vs. 2,972 for Democrats).
“The 2008 presidential election demonstrated the potential of the social and digital media space to engage supporters and build online communities to impact electoral outcomes,” says Dallas Lawrence, managing director of digital public affairs for Burson-Marsteller. “Last year highlighted the power of social media to impact public opinion and influence legislative and regulatory outcomes at the state and federal level.
“As we enter the final stretches of the 111th Congress, 2010 is clearly emerging as the year of social media’s dominance in the advocacy, stakeholder outreach and legislative arenas. This study clearly indicates that with two months before the general election, Republicans in Congress are much more visible and better positioned within the Twittersphere.”
Other key findings of the study include the fact that Republicans make up 65 percent of the most followed congressional Twitter accounts; Republicans are also more likely to retweet other users’ posts (64 percent) when compared with Democrats (41 percent), signaling that Republican members of Congress are more engaged and listening to other Twitter users; and more Republican members of Congress are using the [email protected] function to directly refer to other users (67 percent) than Democratic accounts (50 percent).
The Top 10 most followed congressional accounts overall:
1. John McCain (R)
2. John Boehner (R)
3. Jim DeMint (R)
4. Claire McCaskill (D)
5. Scott Brown (R)
6. Eric Cantor (R)
7. Barbara Boxer (D)
8. Michele Bachmann (R)
9. Chuck Grassley (R)
10. Paul Ryan (R)