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Just shows how totally out of it I am. I never even knew all those politicians were twittering! Aren't they supposed to be running the country?

Twitter numbers vs the election prediction markets? A correlation?

Nick, the chattering classes have become the twittering classes.

I resemble that remark.

This exchange attracted a certain amount of attention at the time. It's hard to imagine how something like that could happen if twitter didn't exist.

Steve, what that exchange suggests to me is that it won't be long before politicians' tweets will be controlled and monitored.

By the way, if your numbers were converted to American by multiplying by 10, you'd have almost as many followers as, say, Gail Collins of the New York Times.

Almost all of them are; Tony Clement is the only pol I follow, mainly because he will at times depart from scripted talking points. And he can be pretty funny.

And we should also mention @MikePMoffatt, who is a reliable source of truly awful disco videos.

I tweeted my reaction to this post! You can read it here.

But may I also use this space to point those interested in the intersection of Twitter and Canadian politics to two resources: One is at www.politwitter.ca and provides a plethora of statistics about the popularity, etc. of federal and provincial politicians.

My own directory - Canadian Political Twits - is a guide to Twitter handles of federal politicans but also provides a guide to "hashtags" like #bdgt11 or #elxn41 for Canadian federal politics.

Intrade confirms my impression that those Republican follower numbers are in the exact inverse order of the chances of being nominated (and in very rough logarithmic proportion, with Romney an order of magnitude behind in followers and ahead in chances). Which I guess doesn't speak well for Twitter.

I would like to see more of this blog's contributors on Twitter though (particularly Nick, what with my being a macro guy). I pretty much organize my mental life around Twitter, and every once in a while I remember that there are also blogs in the world. So I'm often late catching posts on this blog unless Mark Thoma catches them quickly and tweets them.

I don't think that Twitter followers necessarily indicates popularity or intentions to vote a certain way. I follow people on Twitter who are interesting, not just because I'd vote for them. As SG points out, Tony Clement often goes off the talking points and makes for an interesting read. Anyone just retyping talking party lines doesn't make me want to follow them at all.

Following Davidakin, I felt a need to tweet about this (twice).

A couple of personal observations about Twitter:

1. As a reader of Twitter, I find that it fulfills a function similar to what the first column (previously the second column) of the Wall Street Journal once did for me (except of course much broader and more configurable).

2. As a blogger, I often use Twitter as a substitute for blogging when I'm too busy or too lazy to do a whole post (which lately is most of the time).

I've been so horrendously busy teaching MBAs, I haven't had time for any videos!

Hopefully this makes up for my negligence.


Eyes are not a good metric. I follow a few %@#$ idiots (dogmatic economists, etc) and, likewise, I have unfollowed people/organizations that I admire (usually because they're not tweeting about the subjects I had hoped they would, or because the social media interns tweeting for them aren't intriguing enough).

Mike: try this one instead: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4pimCdIwMPw

Vaguely appropriate for the topic too!

A terrific post! If tweeting is to signal one's reproductive fitness then I'm doing a horrendous job by posting so many disco videos.

It's funny - I've disagreed with ~90% of the decisions Tony Clement has made at both Health Canada and Industry Canada (particularly the former as it more directly affects my business). That being said, I really enjoy his Twitter feed. He seems like he'd make a great neighbour or co-worker.

Also, if you're not following David Akin on twitter, you should be. Best in the business.

Nick: Nice! That's two Hawkwind references in one weekend for me (what are the odds of that?). Saturday morning I was watching the 'The Final Sacrifice' episode of Mystery Science Theater 3000 (yeah, I'm a nerd). A character is looking at a crudely drawn map, and someone remarks: "My Hawkwind album cover will help!"

Mike, I've amended the post to include your twitter handle.

Thanks - much appreciated! I guess now I'll have to discuss more economics in the news, and less on stories on how London, Ontario Neo-Nazis are protesting water fluoridation. (yes, that actually happened).

Follow directions on this typepad help page to share new posts via twitter for those that haven't figured out how to leverage RSS.

Hello, I am the creator of Politwitter.ca, thanks for mentioning the site in your post!

@Nick Rowe - I am very much looking forward to the next Canadian federal election. I will be using the wealth of Twitter and other social media data Politwitter has been gathering to try and predict the outcome of the election. Followers will be a big part of that but i'm going to use several other social media metrics.

I hope to not only have a prediction for the winning party nationally, but also a riding by riding prediction. And after the actual election results are known, it will be very interesting to see how accurate the predictions were and if Twitter and social media is a gauge.

If anyone wants to help with this effort, I could sure use it! I spend a lot of time doing the backend programming and database work, which leaves me with limited time to keep the directory of MPs and candidates updated, its a lot of work. Every once and awhile I go on a binge adding as many as I can find, but its time consuming finding each MP or candidates twitter, facebook, blog, youtube and flickr.

Anyone can help by submitting MP and candidate info using this simple form http://politwitter.ca/page/join

I also have a new page listing every riding and it shows which ridings are missing social media info for their local MP and candidates http://politwitter.ca/riding
which is A LOT right now. I've concentrated on MPs on Twitter and only recently added support to add MPs without Twitter but have other social media accounts such as Facebook.

This wasn't a great example but its noteworthy that the recent BC Liberal Leadership race was won by the candidate with the most Twitter followers and Facebook fans. I have the comparison here http://politwitter.ca/special/leadbcl (right side)

Another take on tweeting if you please. A bird who sings early, long, and well will of course be healthier and provides a signal to other birds that one is ready and available to reproduce which is an advantage. At the same time, tweeting loudly also informs nearby predators that you are available as a tasty snack. Therefore, there are costs and benefits to tweeting. Tweeting (and blogging) loudly lets alot of people know what you are thinking and while that is an advantage in a free and open society such as ours, it can have unfortunate consequences in less open societies. Food for thought whether you are a bird or human.

Trevor May - thanks for this - you've put together a really great resource. What kind of database archive do you have? I'm wondering what kind of analysis of trends over time would be possible...

Livio - great comment.

Georgian - I don't know. What do you think of Truedough and MikePMoffatt's descriptions of how they follow people they disagree with?

I find that twitter is an excellent way to access opinions and research that differ from your own and to foster debate despite the character limitation. However, the recent back and forth between @MikePMoffat and @dgardner was very restricted by the 140 character format.

@Frances Woolley - Currently I am archiving everything, Tweets by MPs, MLAs, tweets to MPs, other tracked accounts like candidates, riding associations, party staffers. As well as community tweets using one of the many Canadian political hashtags.

There are over 1.7 million tweets in the database since May 2009.

I may not permanently archive the community hashtag tweets if the size of the database becomes a problem. But MPs & MLAs tweets will for sure always be archived.

I suppose I have to mention this.

Steve, congratulations! That's awesome.

I know. Being on the same twitter list as Kady O'Malley is one of the highest honours to which one can aspire.

It's well deserved. Scott put together a *really* strong list - I think all 5 would make my Top 10, along with Coyne, David Akin, Dan Gardner and 2 other people who I won't mention so the people I excluded will think they're one of those 2.

Thanks much for using the Intrade market data.


appreciate the use of Intrade market data

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