The Dim-Post

June 18, 2012

Logical disjunction watch

Filed under: general idiocy — danylmc @ 10:23 am

Via DPF, Labour are hot on the trail of John Key’s ghost twitter followers. Clare Curran links to an analysis of Key’s twitter account, comparing Key’s followers to those of other MPs and concludes that many of them are ‘ghosts’, ie they have no avatar picture, no tweets, no followers etc. Other MPs like Curran, Russel Norman and David Shearer have about a 26% ‘ghost follower’ rate: John Key’s is up around the 57% mark! Is the Prime Minister buying twitter followers?

I doubt it. The problem with this comparison is that Key has way, way more followers than any of the people he’s been compared to. Key has >50,000 followers; Clare Curran has <2,500. Maybe once you attract a high number of normal followers you start to get a high ratio of spam and monitoring accounts following you? I note that Piri Weepu has ~52,000 followers, and scrolling through it looks as though a high ratio count as ghost followers. You really need to compare the PM to people like him, or other heads of state. Although there’s still a control problem – how do we know that Piri Weepu hasn’t paid money for Twitter followers???

(I would do this myself, but Twitter has changed their authentication API, and I don’t have time to mess around with their new format. Anyone else wants to crunch this I’ll be happy to post the results.)

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49 Comments »

  1. Could it also be that, if you are a person whose name gets 3,130,000 google results (like this guy: http://www.google.co.nz/search?q=%22John+Key%22&sourceid=ie7&rls=com.microsoft:en-nz:IE-SearchBox&ie=&oe=&redir_esc=&ei=ZFveT6GfHoeh2QXO36joAQ ) you get more ghost twitter followers than someone whose name gets only 85,000 google results (like this twit: http://www.google.co.nz/search?q=%22Clare+Curran%22&sourceid=ie7&rls=com.microsoft:en-nz:IE-SearchBox&ie=&oe=&redir_esc=&ei=aVveT5jRLNSr2AX_8725DQ ) ???

    Comment by Matthew Hooton — June 18, 2012 @ 10:36 am

  2. I once saw a comment by some guy in IT in NZ who has around 50,000 followers saying that a huge number of his followers are spambots. That makes sense to me – presumably spambots follow people who get lots of mentions on Twitter and/or the internet. Also could Clare not go and do some analysis of something actually important like, for example, what effect the TPPA might have on our IT and copyright laws, rather than producing another Game story which only politics nerds care about? Have heard more analysis out of DPF about this than Labour, and he supports free-trade agreements in general.

    Comment by Amy — June 18, 2012 @ 10:52 am

  3. Also you cannot say that “reports are incredulous”. You can say “these reports are hardly credible” or “these reports leave me incredulous” but you can’t combine the two. http://www.clarecurran.org.nz/speeches2.php?speech_id=234 Just checking her website to make sure that she is not constantly beavering away on deep analysis of IT and copyright issues. She isn’t.

    Comment by Amy — June 18, 2012 @ 10:55 am

  4. there’s also a legitimate query here regarding WTF ARE LABOUR DOING PONTIFICATING ABOUT KEY’S TWITTER ACCOUNT? are they really trying to be an opposition party? what are they trying to prove? do Clare Curran and her staff really have nothing more important to do?

    The government just had it’s worst week of their term so far and this is what Labour are focussing on? teh stupid! it burns!!! etc.

    Comment by nommopilot — June 18, 2012 @ 10:59 am

  5. Agree with the sentiment. Labour is meh-ing me away at the moment. Don’t know what (or who) the solution is, but I hope one comes soon.

    Comment by nw — June 18, 2012 @ 11:04 am

  6. nw, the solution is Green.

    Comment by nommopilot — June 18, 2012 @ 11:08 am

  7. Oh for God’s sake. ONE Labour MP with a remit to canvas the technology sector has a look at John Key’s twitter account and has posted about it. Would you prefer Clare Curren stuck to posting recipes or something? It is hardly the stuff of a full blown Labour attack on National, but it is pertinent in relation to monolithic narrative built up around Key’s supposed unassailable popularity.

    Quite why Green supporters are so willing to play useful idiot to David Farrar’s lines escapes me.

    Comment by Sanctuary — June 18, 2012 @ 11:14 am

  8. What is wrong with Curran spending a small amount of time on a blog that no one but internet political obsessives reads on a matter that is interesting to internet political obsessives? Don’t get me wrong, I can’t stand the stupid conspiracy stuff, but this is actually moderately interesting and, to be fair, doesn’t look like it took longer than 15 minutes to prepare.

    This isn’t something Labour are focussing on — you can tell that because it is on the blog that no-one reads, not a press release over Shearer’s name.

    Comment by Keir — June 18, 2012 @ 11:19 am

  9. Sanc, Curran could wind up in charge of broadcasting and IT. She’s not the sharpest knife in the draw.

    Comment by NeilM — June 18, 2012 @ 11:25 am

  10. Is the problem that no-one else in Labour (apart from Cunliffe) appears to be doing anything, so this stuff by Curran stands out?

    Comment by Karl — June 18, 2012 @ 11:28 am

  11. I would have thought the problem was Key’s dented personal popularity, National’s declining polling, and the steady rise of Labour/Greens, to be honest.

    Comment by Keir — June 18, 2012 @ 11:37 am

  12. But that steady rise of Labour seems to be a result of the “what-else” mentality. Agree with #6, the answer is Green…

    Comment by nw — June 18, 2012 @ 11:57 am

  13. Whoooooo cares.

    Maybe it’s legit for Curran to be drawing attention to this but I don’t think we have to respond by giving her oxygen when she does so.

    Comment by Hugh — June 18, 2012 @ 12:03 pm

  14. This is a reasonable question for a blog like The Standard to ask but MP’s shoul dsat awy from stuff like this. National are much smarter and do spend alot of time focussing on silly issues but run them through WhaleOil and Kiwiblog.
    On the other hand shouldnt buy into DPF’s lines that a blog post that took 5 mins to write means Labour aren’t focussing on the issues that matter. Most of them are, just havent yet sorted out a consistent narrative yet that they can get up and repeat on the news everyday.
    Doesnt help that Norma has improved his media presence and gives better soundbites than Shearer does so the TV news play Russells soundbites rather than Davids.

    Comment by Luke C — June 18, 2012 @ 12:29 pm

  15. One step ahead of you: currently researching Piri Weepu’s account and then probably Corey Jane, John J Campbell and maybe Rhys Darby. Its quite hard to find NZ Twitter accounts with 50,000 followers for comparison.

    Aside from the postulation about purchased followers I embarked on this journey purely because Chris Keall http://www.nbr.co.nz/opinion/john-key-top-twits-50k-heres-how-others-are-faring claimed the followers looked like ‘living breathing New Zealanders’ – a claim I disagreed with and set about disproving, which I think my investigation unequivocally did.

    What any of this means (if anything) is not something I’m going to get dragged in to, nor political ‘issues that matter’ – I just took umbrage to the claims of the original article. Debate over quality of Twitter or Social Media in general is beyond the remit of my interests.

    Comment by Boolean — June 18, 2012 @ 12:45 pm

  16. Would you prefer Clare Curren stuck to posting recipes or something? It is hardly the stuff of a full blown Labour attack on National, but it is pertinent in relation to monolithic narrative built up around Key’s supposed unassailable popularity.

    It would be better if she focused on things that were relevant to her shadow portfolio, yes.
    Monolithic narrative? Have you opened your curtains in the last month or so, Sanc?

    Comment by Gregor W — June 18, 2012 @ 12:50 pm

  17. Can I be the first person here to mention that it wasn’t actually Clare Curran doing the actual analysis, it was someone from Boolean.co.nz. So to all the Greenies getting all fired up about it, maybe the discussion should turn to Gareth Morgan, an environmentally-conscious economist who exposes the Green Party for what they are; radical lefties who play on emotion rather than hard fact to try and make their unfounded claims

    Comment by Mighty Kites — June 18, 2012 @ 12:55 pm

  18. she’s continuing the conspiracy line. hope Key has his birth certifciate all sorted.

    Comment by NeilM — June 18, 2012 @ 12:56 pm

  19. It matters, precisely because so many people think it doesn’t matter.

    Saying “well, it’s only Clare Curran and it’s only Red Alert” is now like saying “it’s only a press release from the Libertarianz.”. Or a blog post by Pete George.

    Maybe the online voice of the alternative government should matter. As somebody who actually *wants” to feel good about voting Labour, I steer well clear it.

    Comment by sammy 2.0 — June 18, 2012 @ 1:20 pm

  20. But she must have paid Boolean to do the analysis. That implies that she wrote them a contract or spec to do this job, then she read their report, then she wrote a blog post about it. To me that’s a fair commitment of time.

    Comment by Amy — June 18, 2012 @ 1:32 pm

  21. Ah, more of those assumptions that Green Party supporters are so fond of making. She MUST have paid them to it, fracking MUST be harmful, oil and gas drilling MUST be stopped

    Comment by Mighty Kites — June 18, 2012 @ 1:48 pm

  22. I can assure you I wasn’t paid: as I outlined in my comment above http://dimpost.wordpress.com/2012/06/18/logical-disjunction-watch/#comment-66539 I thought the original NBR article was incorrect so I decided to investigate programatically that which human eyes could not. 50,000 is a lot of followers…

    Any conclusion from any of this is up to the reader. ‘Living breathing New Zealanders’ however, they are not.

    Comment by Boolean — June 18, 2012 @ 1:58 pm

  23. @ Sanctuary “Would you prefer Clare Curren stuck to posting recipes”

    YES.

    Comment by merv — June 18, 2012 @ 1:59 pm

  24. Comment 17: So to all the Greenies getting all fired up about it….
    Comment 21: Ah, more of those assumptions that Green Party supporters are so fond of making….

    @ Mighty Kites

    What on earth are you on about?

    Comment by Gregor W — June 18, 2012 @ 2:50 pm

  25. oh ok, I didn’t read the comments very carefully. Clearly clare didn’t commission this research – she just got sent it. Which makes me feel a bit better about the whole thing. I still don’t think that engaging with Game stories like this is helping Labour’s image as much as doing work on the issues would. Re Mighty Kite. I think the question is not “What is he on about?” but simply “What is he on?” I want some of that shit.

    Comment by Amy — June 18, 2012 @ 4:11 pm

  26. “I want some of that shit.”

    I really don’t think you do. Whatever it is it makes you crazy the bad way…

    Comment by nommopilot — June 18, 2012 @ 4:42 pm

  27. I don’t really see the point – the election isn’t held on Twitter, so how many followers you have is fairly irrelevant. A candidate could have half a million people who love them and follow them on twitter and 2.5 million people who think they’re a complete c**t. They’d lose the election.

    Also, i remember the “geek candidate” in the Wellington mayoral election whose count of Twitter followers approached their number of votes, and who wound up coming a poor third.

    Comment by Rich d'Rich (@rich_d_rich) — June 18, 2012 @ 5:10 pm

  28. Matthew Hooton should be lynched for using ie7.

    SINCERELY,
    THE INTERNET

    Comment by Chris Bull — June 18, 2012 @ 6:18 pm

  29. This is why Russell gets interviewed as the “opposition” opinion to John Key’s statements on 3 news.

    Comment by gn — June 18, 2012 @ 7:03 pm

  30. “28.Matthew Hooton should be lynched for using ie7″

    Dont be mean. Not everyone can afford a new computer every 7 years.

    Comment by gn — June 18, 2012 @ 7:05 pm

  31. @ nommopilot. Given that I have a terrible cold and am deeply depressed by my job, I was thinking that anything which made me completely detached from reality could only be a good thing.

    Comment by Amy — June 18, 2012 @ 8:02 pm

  32. Dont be mean. Not everyone can afford a new computer every 7 years.

    IE7 is a browser. It can be updated for free. There’s these amazing alternatives called Chrome, Firefox, Safari… and if you’re really scared of improvement, the *later versions* of IE.

    Comment by Flynn — June 18, 2012 @ 9:33 pm

  33. Now she’s back with the Huawei nonsense. Apparently 2 Degrees uses Huawei cellpohones.

    It would be such fun watching her managing NZ’s developent of broadcastng and communications. I take she’s there because Labour takes those areas so seriosuly.

    Comment by NeilM — June 19, 2012 @ 8:14 am

  34. I think NeilM should go live in China, so over-powering appears his concerns for the Chinese state’s well being.

    Comment by Sanctuary — June 19, 2012 @ 8:30 am

  35. And I think Sanctuary should go back to Russia, because he is a communist. In fact, everyone I disagree with should get the fuck out of my country, because only I know what is best for it.

    Comment by Flashing Light — June 19, 2012 @ 9:04 am

  36. Are you going to stand for that sarcastic intransigence Sanc?

    Comment by merv — June 19, 2012 @ 9:27 am

  37. How old are you merv?

    Comment by Sanctuary — June 19, 2012 @ 9:30 am

  38. Now she’s back with the Huawei nonsense. Apparently 2 Degrees uses Huawei cellphones.

    This does unfortunately (yet again) show Curran’s utter lack of understanding in the telco arena.
    Comparing the relative security and privacy risks associated with network access devices as opposed to traffic aggregation/switch technology is completely nonsensical
    .
    I honestly think she would serve her portfolio better by just shutting the hell up, or at the least, sticking to broadcasting.

    Comment by Gregor W — June 19, 2012 @ 9:49 am

  39. “…This does unfortunately (yet again) show Curran’s utter lack of understanding in the telco arena…”

    *sigh* I think Curran’s last two posts – on this matter and on the Twitter thing – show that it is time for David Shearer to call time on the RedAlert blog. Modern politics is about being relentlessly on message; RedAlert means distraction. In particular, the twitter story was mildly interesting, but from a political management point of the view the dangers ought to have been obvious. Clearly, it opened Labour to the charge that it’s senior MP’s fritter their time away on pointless distractions – and all on a story of only mild merit. I would suggest that political tactics means it would have been a much more interesting story if it had come from a technically minded third party blogger who introduced the information as an interesting factoid, and it just so happened he/she discovered most of John Key’s followers were fake.

    Comment by Sanctuary — June 19, 2012 @ 11:39 am

  40. You conflate tracking bots with fake followers Sanc. Probably on purpose.

    Comment by merv — June 19, 2012 @ 12:29 pm

  41. it is time for David Shearer to call time on the RedAlert blog

    Shearer: “So, Trevor, how about we wind this thing up?”

    Mallard: “No way. It’s my toy. I wanna play some more.”

    Shearer: “Oh. Well, you see, I thought, as leader, I mean …”

    Mallard: “Thank you David, that will be all.”

    Comment by sammy 2.0 — June 19, 2012 @ 12:32 pm

  42. “it opened Labour to the charge that it’s senior MP’s fritter their time away on pointless distractions”
    Curran is a senior MP? Oh the horror.

    Comment by BenLW — June 20, 2012 @ 7:39 pm

  43. A 57% ghost twitter amount, compared with 26%, is indeed suspicious regardless of how many followers he has. This reminds me of the stunt pulled to get him on David Letterman’s show. Let’s face it, our PM is a true-blue populist leader whose livelihood in the political realm has so far been determined by the media attention he garners and not by the things he has achieved.

    Comment by Daniel Lang — June 21, 2012 @ 9:16 pm

  44. Dan Dan the Union Man.

    Comment by Tim — June 21, 2012 @ 9:26 pm

  45. A 57% ghost twitter amount, compared with 26%, is indeed suspicious regardless of how many followers he has.

    My brief, and subesquently aborted, Twitter account had an astonishing 86% ghost or ‘bot followers…
    Quick, call in the Feds!
    :|

    Comment by Phil — June 22, 2012 @ 9:14 am

  46. The difference I guess Phil is that your job probably doesn’t rely on the public management of ‘Brand Phil’.

    However, the whole thing is most certainly a storm in a teacup.

    Comment by Gregor W — June 22, 2012 @ 10:12 am

  47. While Labour continues to rely, somewhat optimistically, on the public tarnishing of ‘Brand Key’

    Comment by merv — June 22, 2012 @ 4:34 pm

  48. It seems germane to note that the Greens’ Gareth Hughes also linked to this stuff, on Facebook. He even called it “spooky”.

    But if course that’s not nearly as much fun as spending day after day raging about Clare Curran.

    Comment by Russell Brown — June 23, 2012 @ 8:19 am

  49. I think the thing is not so much that an MP drew attention to it, but a quick link on facebook has a different perception than a blog post, which you would expect to take more time and preparation and thus more effort. If you look at what Gareth Hughes posts on frogblog as opposed to what he tweets or facebooks, you’ll see he has a good understanding of what kind of channels are appropriate for what kind of issues.

    Curran is supposed to be a social media expert but consistently displays a lack of insight and knowledge about which kind of social media is best for the particular piece of info she’s trying to put across.

    Comment by nommopilot — June 23, 2012 @ 11:57 am


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