Why Eastern Europe’s politicians are all atwitter & How to ride the waves of the tweetosphere

Politics and social media; why Eastern Europe's politicians are all atwitterFollowing the great success of my rankings of tweeting presidents and prime ministers in Central and Eastern Europe last year, I have now written a new post on the topic (an updated summary if you will) for my department’s research blog. In the process of writing, I also thought a bit more about how to make waves in the ‘tweetosphere’ – read my reflections below.

Riding the waves of the tweetosphere

Valdis Dombrovskis shares presidentialactivism.com ranking on Twitter Even though tweeting politicians are rather a hobby-horse of mine, I created quite some media buzz with my rankings of tweeting presidents and prime ministers in CEE. My blog received a record number of hits and the articles were shared on social media more than a hundred times. While my article on tweeting presidents was shared on Facebook amongst others by the Estonian Embassies in London and Washington, my ranking of tweeting prime ministers made it onto the website of Latvian Public Radio, several online portals (see 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6) and was featured on Latvia’s official webpage as well as eventually re-tweeted by Latvian Prime Minister Valdis Dombrovskis himself.

Polish PMs Office reacts to presidentialactivism.com-rankingThe team of the Polish Prime Minister’s office also reacted to my rankings and only shortly afterwards – although I do not claim to have motivated it – PM Donald Tusk started to tweet from a new personal twitter account (@premiertusk).

Twitter is like offering a box of chocolates…

Should you now think ‘What does chocolate have to do with it?’ – I will come back to that later. First let me confirm what you might already know: Twitter can be a useful source to spread results from your research or other – preferably online – output (blog posts, media interviews etc.). Having many followers is not the only factors in increasing your impact (although it certainly helps) – even following guidelines such as those prepared by the LSE Impact Blog (which probably belong to the best ones around) will not guarantee that your tweets spread. Unless you tweet about something on a very current topic (such as Kevin Collins with his link to an article on the political science of papal elections this Monday) there is always a certain degree of randomness to what gets picked up – especially if you are aiming for mentions in mainstream media. It might just be that the tweets about your newest research or elaborate blog post go under in others’ Twitter  feeds and something else is re-tweeted on a large scale. But even then a re-tweet or mentioning in other sources  is no guarantee for impact. As I experienced with my rankings of tweeting politicians, several news outlets picked up the story via Twitter but then either forgot to mention my blog and my name in their own articles or misspelled them. Another problem was the fact that my name (with its German umlaut already a pain for many foreigners) did not fit Latvian grammar and was thus transcribed as ‘Filips Kokers’ (it took me quite a bit of website-engineering to direct people googling my new Latvian name to this blog).

Back to the chocolate

In my very brief conclusion let me get back to the box of chocolates:
Twitter is like offering a box of chocolates… you never know which one of your sweets/tweets is picked up by others (and what they will do with it).

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