Friday 28 November 2014

Twitter, the Influence of Presidential Candidates in the French Election and the Trust Barometer

This post was originally published on Christophe Ginisty’s blog, ginisty.com.

Every week, I discuss the the state of the influence of the French presidential candidates on Twitter as measured by Tweetlevel, the tool designed by Edelman.

As a reminder, Tweetlevel is the only free tool that measures the reality of the influence on Twitter by integrating both quantitative and qualitative criteria and displaying components of the influence through three dimensions: popularity, engagement and trust.

Graphs illustrating this note show the scores since the creation of the barometer, last December. Moreover, in order to gain visibility, I opted to show only the main candidates.

Tweetlevel Score: Nicolas Sarkozy’s Twitter Account is on Fire

Last week, Nicolas Sarkozy had just declared himself a candidate and had opened an account on Twitter.

This week, no doubt, the arrival of the president energizes Twitter and produces a kind of a chemical reaction which virtually all applicants (with the notable exception of Marine Le Pen and Nicolas Dupont-Aignan), have benefited.

They record all of a fairly sharp rise, a sign that the entry of Sarkozy has forced candidates and supporters to become more active on Twitter.

Note again this week that the largest increase is to be credited to Jean-Luc Melenchon who takes the top spot of the overall influence on Twitter. It records the score of 85.5 and is truly impressive.

Popularity score: Nicolas Sarkozy is already very high

The popularity rating takes into account the number of people following one account, but also the influence and popularity of these followers: the score is even more important when one is followed by people who themselves have a many influential followers.

If Francois Hollande is still tops on this index, the arrival of Nicolas Sarkozy is remarkable since it reaches immediately the second position of the index, at the same level of François Bayrou, a very established and experienced Twitter user.

We also see a fairly sharp rise of Jean-Luc Melenchon who gained almost 5,000 new subscribers in just a week and glue together the leading pack.

No decline this week on this index, but a disturbing stagnation of Eva Joly from the green party, whose influence does not seem to vary.

Engagement score: Mélenchon is leading the race

Engagement

The engagement reflects several criteria among which include the attendance of publication on Twitter, frequency of publication, but also responsiveness to inquiries and participation in the conversations of your community.

This is where the full Sarkozy effect plays.

As I said earlier, the arrival of the president on Twitter had the effect of multiplying reactions, both from the other candidates themselves and their supporters. This has had an effect on the mechanical of the engagement index.

And it was Jean-Luc Melenchon, the extravagant candidate supported the Communist party, which has soared, taking the lead in the index with a spectacular score (77.6), followed closely by Francois Hollande (from the Socialist Party).

What is rather amusing to see, the bipolar logic is illustrated in full this week. When the main conservative candidate comes into play (Sarkozy), the intensity of the conversations on the left explodes.

Trust Score: The Fans on the Warpath

The trust score refers to the propensity of subscribers to “retweet” or reference to tweets written by the account holder. This rating also incorporates the successive Retweets and so highlights the viral power of one Twitter account. This is a particularly valuable dimension on the Internet.

This week, the growth of all candidates is impressive.

It is mainly due to the importance of the event that constituted the beginning of the campaign of Nicolas Sarkozy. Supporters of other candidates waited patiently for their “champions” tweets on Sarkozy to immediately retweet them.

As a result, the Trust index that measures the virality of messages exploded.

The influence also depends on what others tweet

Looking at the scores of the week, there is an exceptional revival of influence whose origin is the arrival of Nicolas Sarkozy on Twitter surrounded by thousands of immediate followers.

For such a phenomenon to happen, it must have mingled conversations. Citizen’s expression is powered by a gigantic game of ping-pong played in every direction. Everybody is watching everybody. The activity peaks often come from what others do. People have responded to each other with an unmatched intensity. Citizens from each camp have taken the opportunity of the entry of Sarkozy to occupy Twitter. This was the case this week and that’s where we understand the full scope of the term “social network.”

Last comment of the week, let’s not forget that the performance of Jean-Luc Melenchon on Twitter is everyday more remarkable. I may be wrong but my intuition tells me that his Tweetlevel scores may reveal a big surprise on the Election Day. I am not saying that he can win the election. I am just thinking he will reach an unexpected score that could affect the leadership of the favorite candidates.

To be decided…

Image credit: League of Women Voters of California

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