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How many councillors in the South West of England use Twitter?

By August 15, 2012 5 Comments

A few weeks ago we published our research on councillors holding Twitter accounts in the West Midlands region. It seemed to be well received so we repeated the job for the South West of England – with Open Space South West taking place in the near future it seemed like a good place to turn to next.

Actually, when I say ‘we’ I mean my colleague Andy. He searched for Twitter accounts on the names of all 888* 990 unitary and county councillors in the region to gather the data – and compiled this lovely spreadsheet. It’s interesting to note that fewer councillors in the South West region (11.1%) appear to have taken to the tweets than their West Midlands counterparts (16.6%) – and that, I suppose, loosely tallies with the news that councillors on Clevedon Town Council in North Somerset chose to enforce a ‘ban’ on tweeting from council meetings.

The picture below shows the proportions of councillors in each unitary and county authority in the region using Twitter.

So – by our estimations, just slightly more than 11 per cent of councillors (at unitary and county level) in the region hold Twitter accounts.

As you can see, it was councillors in Bristol and Bath and North East Somerset and particularly Plymouth who appear to have the most Twitter accounts, while more rural areas – perhaps unsurprisingly – generally have lower numbers of councillors using the tool. Although, clearly (as was pointed out when we had a problem earlier with the stats, there is a considerable number of councillors in Cornwall that are using Twitter). This repeats the general trend that we’ve seen in the West Midlands, and it will be interesting to see if it is visible elsewhere, too.

I should point out that these results are by no means hard and fast. We were criticised last time we did this for the West Midlands, after missing Birmingham councillors in our original search. And, while we’ve adapted our methodology, which now no longer uses lists curated on Twitter by other users, it’s still possible that some councillors are using Twitter accounts that are very difficult, or impossible to find.

*Please note: when we first published this there was an error with the data for Cornwall, which meant the figure of 888 councillors was incorrect. This meant we’d severely under-represented Cornwall in the statistics and slightly misrepresented the overall percentage of councillors with Twitter accounts.

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