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Updated: How many councillors tweet?

By June 29, 2012 No Comments

Earlier in the week I wrote about a little investigation into how many councillors have Twitter accounts. We looked just at the West Midlands and came up with an estimation that 14 per cent of unitary and county councillors use or at least have Twitter. I’ve since heard from a couple of people that this might not be a bad guess at the figure for the whole country, but on Wednesday Neil Elkes commented on the post to say that he was pretty sure I was way out for Birmingham. We’d used a list that had just 17 councillors on it and he was pretty sure that there were another 20 or so that we hadn’t found.

Well, we’ve searched through and found quite a few more councillors, making the figure for Birmingham 41 councillors with Twitter accounts, out of 120. About a third, as Neil had said. I’ve created a new visualisation for this and a new map, which you’ll see below (and I’ll update the old blog, with strikethroughs, so folk know we didn’t get this right to start with).

Of course, this is part of the process of blogging – allowing your readers to point out where you could do better and adjusting accordingly. But it also indicates that the methodology we used – to look first for lists that were being curated on Twitter and then, if  we couldn’t find them, go out and search to find the councillors manually – wasn’t fail safe, even if it was quick.

Here’s a graph of the percentages:-

Here’s a heat map (note: the way OpenHeatMap works means it shows the names of the districts, but the darkest areas are Birmingham and Worcestershire):-

While I acknowledged this at the time, it’s useful to have some firm evidence that if we were to carry this out at a larger scale it would involve some more in depth work. Still, it’s particularly interesting to see that Birmingham, a hot bed of social-media activity, is second only to Worcestershire (36.8 per cent) in the number of councillors holding Twitter accounts, with about 34 per cent of councillors holding Twitter accounts. This also pushes up the total figure of councillors in the West Mids using or at least owning Twitter accounts to 16.6 per cent