With Berlin re-elections coming up, what have MPs been tweeting about? In total, the number of tweets by all Berlin MPs went up 45 percent, from 3500 tweets in December 2022 to 5100 tweets in January 2023. How have the Berlin MPs been using Twitter for their campaigning? Let’s dig in.
Germany’s constitutional court in mid-November last year ruled that the state of Berlin would need to hold re-elections for the local parliament of Berlin citing significant lapse in organization and logistics. They will take place on February 12th 2023. We looked at the Twitter activity over the last two and half months of 122 (of the 147 MPs) who we found to have an active Twitter profile. 13 belong to AfD, 30 to CDU, 12 to FDP, 33 to Green, 24 to Left, and 36 to SPD.
Let’s start with popularity. The number of followers is one way to capture it: more followers, more reach (at least in principle). As of 01 February 2023, the MPs of Left together lead on this front. They bring 102.500 followers in total.
The group of MPs from the Green party stands second at 80.000 followers, and then MPs from AfD at 56.000 followers. Individually, three of the top five positions are occupied by the Left. The current mayor Franziska Giffey of SPD stands at fifth position with 12.900 followers.
An absolute count of tweets made by these MPs is one way to look at it. In total, these MPs published about 11.000 tweets. The highest share was occupied by the Left covering 24 percent of the volume. The lowest share at only eleven percent was the AfD.
Insights, however, vary at the level of individual MPs. Björn Matthias (who goes by “BMJotzo”) of the FDP alone accounted for 13.5 percent of all this tweet volume (at 1505 tweets). That is over 19 tweets a day! He is followed by Stefan Evers (“BerlinGestatler”) of CDU at less than half of him: over 8 tweets a day. Leader for the Left is Tobias Schulze (“Tobias_Schulze”) also at over 8 tweets a day, for AfD is Gunner Lindemann (“AfDLindemann”) at 6 tweets a day. SPD and Green rather fall behind in frequency.
Auch hier führen die Linken mit insgesamt 24 Prozent aller Tweets. Den geringsten Anteil hatte mit nur elf Prozent die AfD. Auf der Ebene der einzelnen Abgeordneten ergeben sich jedoch unterschiedliche Ergebnisse. Allein Björn Matthias von der FDP ist für 13,5 Prozent des gesamten Tweet-Volumens verantwortlich (1505 Tweets). Das sind über 19 Tweets pro Tag!
Ihm folgt Stefan Evers von der CDU mit weniger als der Hälfte, aber immerhin noch über acht Tweets pro Tag. Spitzenreiter für die Linke ist Tobias Schulze mit ebenfalls gut acht Tweets pro Tag. Bei der AfD ist es Gunner Lindemann mit sechs Tweets pro Tag. SPD und Grüne fallen in der Häufigkeit eher zurück.
While some take their Twitter presence very seriously, others don’t seem to share the same view. 24 of the total MPs made less than 10 tweets over the entire period. Only 40 MPs tweeted at least one tweet a day.
It also appears that MPs of different parties have a pattern of tweeting throughout the day. The Green MPs for instance tweet more often in the morning for a couple and then taper off for the day, the AfD tweets in bursts with high and low tweeting activity every couple hour. The CDU on the other hand is early at tweeting in the morning and goes on at a pace until lunch time and then slows down.
The parties MPs have a favorite day of the week too, it seems: Green MPs tweeted the most on Wednesdays and Thursdays and so do the AfD and the CDU. Everyone takes a bit of a break on Sunday, except of FDP MPs who tweet a lot on Sundays.
While the AfD MPs are the lowest when it comes to amount and frequency of tweets, they often reach a larger audience anyways. Their MPs lead the highest number of total likes at 102.800. Gunner Lindemann singlehandedly brought in 73 thousand likes. The torch bearer for CDU Stefan Evers achieved 47.800 likes, Ferat Koçak (“der_neukoellner”) for Left 28.000, Visili Franco (“VasiFranco”) for the Greens about 26.000 likes, Marcel Hopp (“Marcel_Hopp”) (SPD) 24.100 thousand likes and lastly, Sebastian Czaja (“SebCzaja”) FDP 32.500 likes. The results of counting retweets also concur with the trend in likes.
Aggregated at the party level, it tells an interesting story. It suggests that AfD receives a much stronger response to what they tweet. AfD only made 11 percent of all the tweets we tracked but received 26 percent of all the likes.
Twitter recently rolled out a new engagement feature ‘views’, displaying the number of times a particular tweet was viewed by someone. The feature was released towards the end of December 2022. Broadly, SPD managed to reach the greatest number of people on Twitter. AfD on the other hand reached the least number of people. Hence, likes and retweets don’t seem to be the main factors for reaching the largest audience anymore.
Instead of looking at only views (that tell us about reach), we can also look at the ratio of views to likes. This tells us something interesting about an MPs engagement: how many of those who saw the Tweet, ended up liking it, too. Less the ratio, effective the MPs engagement. We only consider January 2023 for this section of analysis.
AfD MPs together lead the number, for every 14 people that view their tweets, one ends up liking it. SPD stands last at one like for every 85 views. CDU stands at 38, the Left at 56, Green at 43, and FDP at 76.
Whom do MPs engage with? Turns out, most MPs only amplify tweets from MPs of the same party. Retweeting tweets of MPs from party appears a strict no. The delibarative debate that is the ideal of parliamentary democracy is definitely not happening between Berlin MPs on Twitter.