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Study of Members of the Folketing on Twitter – Danish politics has a long way to go

Screen Shot 2013-01-08 at 11.55.08Following my post about European Commissioners on Twitter, and suggestions to get Danish Prime Minister Helle Thorning-Schmidt onto the network, I thought I would next do a brief study of how members of the Danish Parliament (Folketing, with MF standing for a member of the Folketing) are doing on Twitter. This post sums up what I found. The study is rather long, so is broken up into sections. Comments are most welcome, in English or Danish (jump to comments section).

Contents
1. Finding the MFs
2. Elimination of small and inactive accounts
3. Results table
4. Insights – individuals
5. Insights – parties
6. Suggestions for improvement
7. More than 100 tweets, but not active in the last 30 days
8. More than 100 tweets, but all tweets are automated from Facebook
9. Accounts with less than 100 tweets
10. MFs NOT on Twitter

 

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1. Finding the MFs
I took a three step approach to finding members of the Folketing on Twitter. Starting with list of MFs from the Folketing website on 7.1.12 (including 3 substitute members, making the total 182), I first used Google.dk to search for the name of the MF’s name and ‘Twitter’. If this revealed no name I then searched Twitter using the ‘Suggest People’ function. And as a final check I scanned Danish Twitter users’ lists to ensure no MF was missed. The 85 MFs I found on Twitter are now on this Twitter list of my own. The 97 not on Twitter are listed at the end of this post.

 

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2. Elimination of small and inactive accounts
The threshold to include an account in the study was that the account has written at least 100 tweets. Less than this and it is impossible to gauge how an account will develop. This eliminated a further 38 MFs, all listed below. A further 5 accounts were eliminated because no tweets had been produced in the last 30 days, and 4 more accounts are feeds of news from Facebook only and were also removed. This leaves a total of 38 active MFs on Twitter.

 

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3. Results table
The table below lists the 38 active MFs on Twitter, organised by number of followers. * denotes a Minister. The three columns at the right end are the interesting ones – the Klout score (out of 100) is an automated measure of online influence, based on interactions between users on Twitter, and these users’ respective influence. Reply of RT (out of 10) is my subjective view on how likely a user is to engage with others by replying or RTing. Pol(itical) insight (out of 10) is my subjective view on what can be learned from the tweets – think @carlbildt as the standard for a score of 10.

Name Username Tweets Follows Following Klout Reply
or RT
Pol
insight
Margrethe Vestager* @vestager 2866 94 28603 81 9 6
Ida Auken* @IdaAuken 2073 815 8306 51 7 5
Manu Sareen* @manusareen 1093 165 4254 47 5 5
Morten Østergaard* @oestergaard 881 142 4139 55 7 6
Søren Pind @sorenpind 440 117 3415 48 5 7
Kristian Jensen @Kristian_Jensen 1257 307 2701 51 6 6
Simon Emil Ammitzbøll @SimonEmilAmmitz 201 413 2518 45 3 4
Sofie Carsten Nielsen @sofiecn 2160 447 2090 51 9 5
Ellen Trane Nørby @EllenTraneNorby 397 279 1964 52 7 5
Stine Brix @smbrix 2553 328 1777 57 9 5
Christian Friis Bach* @christianfbach 389 128 1777 50 2 4
Magnus Heunicke @Heunicke 903 428 1706 50 7 5
Pernille Skipper @PSkipperEL 1043 188 1607 55 9 5
Zenia Stampe @zeniastampe 330 24 1260 46 0 3
Michael Aastrup Jensen @michaelaastrup 889 944 1247 49 3 6
Jeppe Mikkelsen @JeppeMikkelsen 2113 469 1145 47 8 5
Benedikte Kiær @benediktekiaer 758 111 1131 46 7 4
Rasmus Prehn @RasmusPrehn 465 247 1113 46 8 4
Sophie Løhde @sophieloehde 311 66 1039 38 3 3
Benny Engelbrecht @BennyEngelbrech 1814 1296 937 41 9 5
Jonas Dahl @jonasdahl 560 144 908 44 2 4
Karsten Lauritzen @StemLAURITZEN 281 84 891 45 3 5
Linda Kristiansen @LKristiansen 1549 1557 822 42 6 4
Camilla Hersom @CamillaHersom 256 93 759 42 1 4
Liv Holm Andersen @LivHA 2021 138 754 46 8 5
Lotte Rod @LotteRod 482 95 751 46 3 3
Martin Geertsen @Martin_Geertsen 225 168 619 40 1 4
Mads Rørvig @MadsRorvig 428 68 570 46 5 3
Simon Kollerup @simonkollerup 379 927 480 43 7 3
Lone Loklindt @LoneLoklindt 432 152 449 43 4 3
Rosa Lund @RosaLundEl 287 98 440 45 5 6
Andreas Steenberg @a_steenberg 108 158 423 41 0 4
Marlene Borst Hansen @marleneBL 172 341 408 59 3 3
Rasmus Horn Langhoff @rasmushorn 388 454 336 45 6 6
Nikolaj Villumsen @nvillumsen 259 131 314 n/a 7 4
Esben Lunde Larsen @lundelarsen 135 36 233 40 0 2
Liselott Blixt @Blixt22 221 80 201 43 3 5
Jane Heitmann @JaneHeitmann 268 1 35 24 0 2

 

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4. Insights – individuals
Screen Shot 2013-01-08 at 12.55.45The undoubted leader of the pack is @Vestager. With more than twice as many followers as the second-ranked politician, and with a friendly, interactive style and plenty of photos, there is a lot other Danish politicians could learn from her.

Next come the communicative ministers@IdaAuken, @ManuSareen and @Oestergaard. Particularly Auken and Østergaard are ready to reply to questions posed on Twitter, but none of the three have really developed their own style. Development Minister Friis Bach @christianfbach remains well behind the others, not really engaging on Twitter yet.

The conversationalists are regular MFs who reach out and discuss politics and plenty of other things besides. Here the leading character is Stine Brix (@smbrix), followed by Sofie Carsten Nielsen (@sofiecn), Pernille Skipper (@PSkipperEL), Benny Engelbrecht (@BennyEngelbrech), Magnus Heunicke (@Heunicke) and Jeppe Mikkelsen (@JeppeMikkelsen). All of these accounts allow a Twitter user to relate to the politician as a person, and replies and RTs are likely from these accounts.

The opposition ranks are led by Ellen Trane Nørby (@EllenTraneNorby) and Søren Pind (@sorenpind), both of whose tweets can have an edge to them, but with rather few tweets so far it is unclear how these accounts will develop. Among the smaller accounts, Rosa Lund (@RosaLundEl) and Rasmus Horn Langhoff (@rasmushorn) have had some reasonable, while Simon Kollerup (@simonkollerup) and Nikolaj Villumsen (@nvillumsen) could develop into conversationalists.

 

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5. Insights – parties
radikale-venstre-bannerRadikale Venstre, led by Vestager, beats all other parties hands down – almost all the party’s MFs are present on Twitter, and 4 of the other top accounts also come from that party. All other parties are a long way behind. The two large parties – Socialdemokraterne and Venstre – are largely absent from Twitter, with the @larsloekke account being dormant a rather surprising choice by Venstre’s communications team. None of the Socialdemokraterne’s leading figures (including the Prime Minister) are in any way active on Twitter. Meanwhile among the other parties Enhedslisten is a fraction ahead of the rest with Brix and Skipper, SF really has only Auken, and Liberal Alliance, Dansk Folkeparti and Konservative have a sprinkling of MFs.

 

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6. Suggestions for improvement
No Danish politicians, not even Vestager, get close to the gold standard of European politicians on Twitter set by the likes of @carlbilbt, @alexstubb, @NeelieKroesEU and @jensstoltenberg. Vestager, with 2866 tweets the most active MF at the time of writing, is almost 2000 short of Stubb’s total. Content builds engagement, and engagement builds a following on the network – too few Danish politicians have understood that.

Among the ranks of the normal MFs, too many accounts are poorly designed (poor pictures, no cover or background image), and a number do not even have biographies or web URLs. Not everyone can name all MFs, so the starting point to gain a following is to make a clear statement of who you are and what you do. Further, only 2 MFs follow more than 1000 people, and many follow less than 100. Twitter is a two-way network, it is about learning from and conversing with others, and far too few MFs seem to be in listening mode. This could be a question of technology, and a lack of understanding of Twitter lists.

Critics may say that all of this is inevitable in Denmark, where Twitter remains under developed and the Danish language Twittersphere is small. But conversely how better as an up-and-coming politician to develop a role and a reputation using Twitter? Danish journalists, academics and bloggers are increasingly taking to Twitter – what are aspiring MFs waiting for?

 

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7. More than 100 tweets, but not active in the last 30 days
Mette Reissmann (@mettereissmann) Tweets: 264, Follows: 169, Followers: 451 (Last tweet: 13.6.12)
Lisbeth Bech Poulsen (@LisbethBech) Tweets: 276, Follows: 55, Followers: 457 (Last tweet: 8.11.12)
Lars Løkke Rasmussen (@larsloekke) Tweets: 350, Follows: 1211, Followers: 18718 (Last tweet: 26.9.11)
Uffe Elbæk (@uffeelbaek) Tweets: 352, Follows: 1, Followers: 2336 (Last tweet: 13.9.11)
Lykke Friis (@lykkefriis) Tweets: 569, Follows: 0, Followers: 1428 (Last tweet: 18.8.11)

 

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8. More than 100 tweets, but all tweets are automated from Facebook
Villy Søvndal (@villysoevndal) Tweets: 132, Follows: 0, Followers: 2981
Astrid Krag (@Astridkrag) Tweets: 145, Follows: 1, Followers: 819
Pia Olsen Dyhr (@PiaOlsen) Tweets: 311, Follows: 0, Followers: 972
Mogens Lykketoft (@lykketoft) Tweets: 349, Follows: 0, Followers: 658

 

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9. Accounts with less than 100 tweets
Ane Halsboe-Larsen (@AneHalsboe) Tweets: 0, Follows: 64, Followers: 78
Louise Schack Elholm (@LouiseElholm) Tweets: 0, Follows: 15, Followers: 55
Birgitte Josefsen (@stemjosefsen) Tweets: 0, Follows: 0, Followers: 38
Inger Støjberg (@Stoejberg) Tweets: 0, Follows: 0, Followers: 46
Villum Christensen (@VillumC) Tweets: 1, Follows: 40, Followers: 382
Jakob Ellemann-Jensen (@JakobEllemann) Tweets: 3, Follows: 2, Followers: 37
Karina Adsbøl (@Karinameldgaard) Tweets: 3, Follows: 1, Followers: 36
Morten Marinus (@MortenMarinus) Tweets: 3, Follows: 144, Followers: 89
Thomas Danielsen (@ThDanielsen) Tweets: 3, Follows: 2, Followers: 29
Anders Samuelsen (@anderssamuelsen) Tweets: 4, Follows: 25, Followers: 3851
Hans Christian Schmidt (@hanschr_schmidt) Tweets: 6, Follows: 5, Followers: 379
Pernille Vigsø Bagge (@PernilleVB) Tweets: 6, Follows: 0, Followers: 147
Henrik Sass Larsen (@SassLarsen) Tweets: 6, Follows: 33, Followers: 423 <- could be fake (see below)
Karina Lorentzen Dehnhardt (@MF_K_Lorentzen) Tweets: 8, Follows: 3, Followers: 91
Jacob Bjerregaard (@JaBjerregaard) Tweets: 9, Follows: 226, Followers: 127
Hans Andersen (@HansAndersenV) Tweets: 10, Follows: 26, Followers: 31
Mike Legarth (@mikelegarth) Tweets: 15, Follows: 130, Followers: 315
Pia Adelsteen (@PAdelsteen) Tweets: 18, Follows: 98, Followers: 61
Jacob Jensen (@jacobjensenMF) Tweets: 20, Follows: 2, Followers: 318
Mette Gjerskov (@MetteGjerskov) Tweets: 27, Follows: 3, Followers: 524
Trine Bramsen (@Trinebramsen) Tweets: 27, Follows: 18, Followers: 289
Jan E. Jørgensen (@JanEJoergensen) Tweets: 28, Follows: 34, Followers: 171
Jeppe Kofod (@JeppeKofod) Tweets: 30, Follows: 121, Followers: 987
Karin Gaardsted (@KarinGaardsted) Tweets: 30, Follows: 9, Followers: 57
Jens Joel (@Jens_Joel) Tweets: 32, Follows: 44, Followers: 377
John Dyrby Paulsen (@JohnDyrbyPaulse) Tweets: 34, Follows: 32, Followers: 447
Dennis Flydtkjær (@flydtkjaer) Tweets: 37, Follows: 123, Followers: 177
Nadeem Farooq (@nadeemfa) Tweets: 38, Follows: 97, Followers: 666
Pernille Boye Koch Stedfortræder (@pernillebk) Tweets: 41, Follows: 38, Followers: 91
Thomas Jensen (@MFThomasJensen) Tweets: 43, Follows: 246, Followers: 302
Sophie Hæstorp Andersen (@SophieHAndersen) Tweets: 54, Follows: 129, Followers: 992
Kirsten Brosbøl (@Kirstenbrosbol) Tweets: 55, Follows: 17, Followers: 478
Brian Mikkelsen (@BrianListeC) Tweets: 67, Follows: 465, Followers: 1130
Per Clausen (@PerClausen3) Tweets: 68, Follows: 134, Followers: 429
Mette Bock (@mettebock) Tweets: 76, Follows: 3, Followers: 91
Torsten Schack Pedersen (@Torstenschack) Tweets: 78, Follows: 17, Followers: 421
Fatma Øktem (@fatmaoektem) Tweets: 79, Follows: 53, Followers: 252
Pernille Rosenkrantz-Theil (@RosenkrantzT) Tweets: 88, Follows: 137, Followers: 928

 

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10. MFs NOT on Twitter
Alex Ahrendtsen, Anne Baastrup, Anne-Mette Winther Christiansen, Annette Lind, Annette Vilhelmsen , Anni Matthiesen, Bent Bøgsted, Bertel Haarder, Birthe Rønn Hornbech , Bjarne Corydon, Bjarne Laustsen, Carsten Hansen, Christian Juhl, Christian Langballe, Christine Antorini, Claus Hjort Frederiksen, Daniel Toft Jakobsen Stedfortræder, Doris Jakobsen Siumut, Edmund Joensen Sambandsflokkurin, Eigil Andersen, Erling Bonnesen, Eva Kjer Hansen, Eyvind Vesselbo, Finn Sørensen, Flemming Damgaard Larsen, Flemming Møller Mortensen, Frank Aaen, Gitte Lillelund Bech, Hans Christian Thoning, Hans Kristian Skibby, Helle Thorning-Schmidt, Henning Hyllested, Henrik Dam Kristensen, Henrik Høegh, Holger K. Nielsen , Jan Johansen, Jens Henrik Thulesen Dahl, Jesper Petersen, Joachim B. Olsen, Johanne Schmidt-Nielsen, Jørgen Arbo-Bæhr, Jørn Dohrmann, Julie Skovsby, Karen Ellemann, Karen Hækkerup, Karen J. Klint, Karen Jespersen, Karin Nødgaard, Karsten Nonbo, Kim Andersen, Kim Christiansen, Kristian Pihl Lorentzen, Kristian Thulesen Dahl, Lars Barfoed, Lars Christian Lilleholt, Lars Dohn, Leif Lahn Jensen, Leif Mikkelsen, Lene Espersen, Lennart Damsbo-Andersen, Mai Henriksen, Maja Panduro, Marianne Jelved , Marie Krarup, Martin Henriksen, Merete Riisager, Mette Frederiksen, Mette Hjermind Dencker, Mikkel Dencker, Mogens Jensen, Morten Bødskov, Nick Hækkerup, Nicolai Wammen, Ole Birk Olesen, Ole Hækkerup, Ole Sohn, Orla Hav, Özlem Sara Cekic, Per Stig Møller, Peter Christensen, Peter Juel Jensen , Peter Skaarup, Pia Kjærsgaard, Preben Bang Henriksen, Rasmus Helveg Petersen, René Christensen, Sara Olsvig Inuit Ataqatigiit, Sjúrður Skaale Javnaðarflokkurin, Søren Espersen, Steen Gade, Thyra Frank, Tina Nedergaard, Tom Behnke, Torben Hansen, Troels Lund Poulsen, Troels Ravn, Ulla Tørnæs.

Second Photo: “Margrethe Vestager” by Radikale Venstre on May 12, 2010 via Flickr, Creative Commons Attribution

NOTE: a first draft of this post incorrectly stated Stine Brix was a member of SF. She is in Enhedslisten. This has been corrected. Thanks @leoparddrengen for pointing this out! In return he asks me to point out his guide to Twitter in Danish. Fair deal I reckon!


As a national parliamentarian, why would you bother with EU matters?

The first briefing today is from the EU Affairs Committee of the Danish Parliament. This committee has the reputation as being the toughest of the 27 national parliaments when it comes to holding national ministers to account before they head to Brussels to Council meetings, and often meet at the same time as the Ministers are meeting in Brussels. At any time Danish ministers negotiating in Brussels know they will need the approval of the EU affairs committee.

The real question for me is: why do these parliamentarians actually bother? Why spend time on this? Because if you’re an ambitious member of the House of Commons then why would you aim to be on the European Scrutiny Committee? It’s technical, complicated, and it’s hard to present to any voter what you have actually done as a member of that committee. No MP (except perhaps for raving EU-phobes like Bill Cash) can ever make a career of it.

Why, I wonder, is Denmark different? A small country? List-based election systems? Less everyday, direct contact between MPs and constituents? A more consensual, responsible political culture?