MEPs on Twitter

In the run-up to the 2019 European elections, EuVisions kicked off a special project centred around the current members of the EU Parliament. Out of a total number of 750 MEPs, we are tracking the online activity of 666 deputies on Twitter, through their profiles. Currently, we are collecting all the tweets sent by MEPs, as well as, the reactions to the former, in terms of retweets and replies.


In the run-up to the European Parliament elections of May 2019, EuVisions is monitoring the online activity of the members of the EU Parliament.

Out of 750 MEPs, we were able to retrieve 666 active Twitter profiles (88.8% of total).

At the beginning of October, we started tracking the activity of MEPs by collecting the tweets they send as well as the reactions they receive, in terms of retweets and replies.

The MEPs we are monitoring come from all of the 28 EU countries (including the UK) and belong to all the nine EP groups:

Our goal is to detect:

The results of the monitoring activity take the form of a series of weekly infographic articles which you will find below, after the methodology section.

If you would like to have more information about the project, please write to Martina Zaghi, at m.zaghi30@gmail.com.

Methodology
Methodology

Every week, we publish an infographic article composed of the same set of graphs, namely:

Who’s tweeting the most?

A graph named “Tweets” shows a daily breakdown of the overall number of tweets (v.a.) sent by all the members of each EP political group. By looking at the peaks occurring in the distribution, it is possible to detect relevant offline events that generated online bubbles of conversations among MEPs. 

Moreover, a graph named “Tweets/Number of MEPs” highlights how many tweets were sent, on average, by the MEPs of the EP groups, each day. This helps us to understand the activity rate of groups independently from their size.

Citizens’engagement

A bar chart shows for every EP political group, the number of tweets sent by the relative MEPs and the volume of retweets and replies these messages received by non-EP-Members (henceforth, “citizens”). This gives us an idea of which groups are best at generating engagement.

Top 20 hashtags (MEPs vs. Citizens)

Three wordclouds point at the protagonists of the weekly online debate. The first cloud shows the 20 MEPs who sent the highest number of tweets (“Most active”). The second one highlights the 20 MEPs whose messages received the greatest quantity of retweets (“Most retweeted”). Eventually, a third wordcloud displays the 20 MEPS whose tweets got the largest number of replies (“Most replied”).

Single MEPs activities

A treemap infographic provides insights into the topics of discussion among both, MEPs and citizens. The MEPs treemap displays the 20 hashtags used the most by the MEPs in their Twitter conversations, while the Citizens treemap shows the 20 hashtags used the most by the citizens in their reactions (retweets and replies) to MEPs’ messages.

Which countries’ MEPs tweet the most?

A map represents the geographical distribution according to a “tweets-to-MEPs” ratio. More precisely, the map shows the number of average tweets sent by MEP featuring to a given nationality. This last chart shows which countries’ MEPs were the most active over a given week and. The tool can potentially highlight the presence of nation-based debates.

 

MEPs on Twitter #episodes
MEPs on Twitter #episodes

MEPs on Twitter #1: Brexit under the spotlight

We noticed a strong focus on the Brexit debate both, among MEPs' tweets, and those sent by lay people as reactions to the former.

Read episode #1

MEPs on Twitter #2: the interests of MEPs and citizens diverge

Brexit aside, this week MEPs dealt with the local elections in Warsaw that took place on October 21 (#trzaskowski2018, #debatawarszawska). Citizens mostly focused on Brexit, but also, on other UK issues (#scrapthelicencefee).

Read episode #2

MEPs #3: EPP takes the lead

MEPs of the EPP group tweeted more than any other political force. Over the past few weeks, conservative deputies increased the number of online conversations regularly.

Read episode #3

MEPs on Twitter #4: the Italian budget row

We observed a strong effect of the monthly Plenary taking place in Strasbourg on MEPs' Twitter activity.

Read episode #4

MEPs on Twitter #5: are Greens and S&D catching up?

The Social Democrat MEP, Sergio Gutiérrez Prieto, featured as one of the most active Deputies this week.

Read episode #5

MEPs on Twitter #6: the "spitzenkandidat" conundrum

The messages sent by MEPs were mainly focused on the #eppcongress. Besides, the usual attention was given to #brexit.
#venezuela appeared to be a constant concern for many citizens.

Read episode #6

MEPs on Twitter #7: EFDD seizes the Brexit debate

Without any doubt, the EFDD was the most influent EP Group, collecting, on average, 36 reactions for every tweet.

Read episode #7

MEPs on Twitter #8: the comeback of ALDE and S&D

MEPs from the EFDD Group continued to engage citizens better than any other political force. However, ALDE and S&D conversations generated more retweets and replies than the previous weeks.

Read episode #8

MEPs on Twitter #9: all eyes on Brexit and the yellow vests

Overall, discussions are clearly focused on the #giletjaunes protests and the draft #brexit deal.

Read episode #9

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