in European Parliament, Politics, Social media, Social network analysis, Twitter

Members of the European Parliament – Twittersphere and communities

To perform our analyses for ThinkingAbout.EU, we collected a list of 643 Twitter accounts that covers the presence on the social network of the 751 Members of the European Parliament currently in office (huge thanks to @raimondiand for his help).

Once we had a complete list (that you can find on our Github), we decided to check all the accounts followed by these MEPs. Among them, we are taking into consideration first 8000 ones, ranked by the number of MEPs following them (e.g. the first one is @JunckerEU, followed by 401 Members of the Parliament).

Using Louvain algorithm to analyze this network, we are able to detect emerging communities.
community is a group of accounts with a density of connections higher than the average.
The most connected account inside a community is considered the most central one.

Analyzing 8000 accounts, we are able to identify 10 communities.
In each one of them, we are able to see the MEPs accounts we started with and the followed accounts. We are using MEPs’ nationalities to describe each community since, based on what the algorithm shows us, it’s pretty clear that MEPs from the same country tend to be grouped in the same community. This happens because — and it’s a first discovery from this analysis, even if it could be expected — MEPs tend to follow media, journalists and politicians from their own country. So, two members from the same country have in many cases more followed accounts in common, than two members from different countries.

This offers us an interesting view of what members elected in each country consider worth to follow. Which journalists? Which media outlets? Are national politicians more important than European ones? Who are the opinion leaders? What role do specialized media have?

In this first post we will analyze first 2 communities, more communities will come in the next posts.
This is then the first episode of our MEPs’ Communities series.

Greece and Cyprus:

Greek and Cypriot MEPs — Twitter Community

The first community we analyze gathers together 16 MEPs from Greece and 4 from Cyprus and the accounts they follow.

Most central account is the one of the journalist Nikos Chatzinikolaou (@NChatzinikolaou) closely followed by the one of Michail Ignatiou (@mignatiou), correspondent from the United States. Other popular journalists are there: Sia Kossioni (@SiaKossioni) and Sofia Papaioannou (@Sofpap360) from Alpha TV.

Most central news media are, instead, Amna News (@amna_news), Enikos (@enikos_gr) and (@Real_gr).

A big emphasis (especially compared to other communities) is for politicians operating at national level: we find many of them in top 30 central accounts. First one is Nikos Pappas @nikospappas16 (current Minister of State), but of course we have premier Alexis Tsipras (@atsipras), deputy prime minister Yannīs Dragasakīs (@YDragasakis) and Governor of Attica Rena Dorou (@renadourou). There’s also space for economist John Milios (@john_milios) former Syriza economic advisor.

At the European level, MEPs from Greece and Cyprus prefer to follow President Juncker (@JunckerEU) and Cypriot Commissioner for Humanitarian Aid & Crisis Management Christos Stylianides (@StylianidesEU). No other commissioner appears in first 30 accounts.

Interesting to note, Members are also following Vangelis Demiris (@vangelisdemiris), multimedia editor for the Commission, who is the only “insider” providing European news in top accounts.

France (and Belgium):

French and Belgian MEPs — Twitter Community

This second community shows closeness among French Members (65) and some of the Belgians (7).

This community is quite different in its composition from the Greek and Cypriot one. No national politicians are among the top 30 accounts. Instead we can find various media outlets: most central one is Le Monde (@lemondefr).
Agence France-Presse (@afpfr), France Info (@franceinfo), France Inter (@franceinter), Libération (@libe) are also at the top of the most followed accounts.

Looking for journalists we bump into Jean Quatremer (@quatremer), European correspondent for Libération, François Beaudonnet (@beaudonnet) France2, Jean-Jacques Bourdin (@JJBourdin_RMC) RMC, Christophe Barbier (@C_Barbier) L’Express and Aurélie Herbemont (@aurelherbemont) from Europe1.

News about European politics are delivered by specialized French media such as Toute l’Europe (@touteleurope), but also by EurActiv (@EurActiv), which is in top 30 accounts with both its generalist account and the French one (@EurActiv_FR).

President Juncker (@JunckerEU) is in this community the only member of the Commission appearing in top 30 accounts.
What about the Council? No sign of Donald Tusk so far.

We will come back soon with 2 more communities. Give us your feedback 🙂

Willing to know more about methodology or complete results?
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