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.)