Greens star on social media

Last updated 05:00 27/01/2014

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Green MPs are the star performers on social media, while their National counterparts are trailing far behind.

Christchurch computer programmer Frank Feinstein has been tracking MPs' Twitter and YouTube use, and blog activity since last year.

His data shows the Greens had 1242 Twitter interactions per MP in the past six months, followed by Labour at 592 interactions and National at 364.

An interaction on Twitter is when someone engages with a tweet by re-tweeting, replying or making it a favourite.

"National has the greatest room for improvement - they could be engaging a lot more, where the Green Party is getting the most out of social media," said Feinstein.

Justice Minister Judith Collins, "well-known as the Queen of Twitter," was "saving" National.

Feinstein is building a website that collates information about MPs' digital footprints, which he planned to make available to the public in March. It will track newspaper articles, television news, Facebook, Twitter, blogs and YouTube, along with Hansard and official parliamentary reports.

Hansard reports would allow the public to view the "naughtiest" MPs based on how many times they had sworn in Parliament or how often they had been disciplined, he said.

"You can track everything, including how the Speaker disciplines people, but also which politicians just do not talk in Parliament.

"Obviously, people in positions of power are going to dominate, but it will sort the wheat from the chaff."

Feinstein's analysis has generated a list of the top individual performers in terms of Twitter interactions in the past six months.

Prime Minister John Key tops the list, followed by Greens co-leader Russel Norman, Labour's Jacinda Ardern, the Greens' Gareth Hughes, Labour's Grant Robertson and Ms Collins.

"The reason why Key stands out so profusely is that after the America's Cup loss he tweeted: 'Bugger', and it got retweeted an insane amount of times (1516 retweets; 379 favourites). You could see it as a spike," Feinstein said.

"Anyone can start a Twitter account and tweet 400 times a day, but this does not mean the community will engage with you. What is important is engagement, replies, retweets and favourites."

Because not all MPs were on social media, Feinstein said it was hard to gauge the strugglers.


Interactions per MP on Twitter in the past six months: Greens (1242) Labour (592) National (364) Maori (313) NZ First (142)

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- Fairfax Media

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