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

Members of the European Parliament — Twittersphere and communities

In the first episode of our MEPs’ communities series (you can find it here) we explained briefly the methodology we are using to analyze which accounts the Members of the European Parliament (or, less poetically, the staff managing their social media 🙂 ) consider worth following.

In short: we are Elif Lab and we are working on a project called ThinkingAbout.EU that analyzes various data coming from the European institutions.

To perform some of the analyses we collected a list of 643 Twitter accounts of the Members of the European Parliament (available on our Github).
We decided to study who they follow, so we took the first 8000 ones MEPs follow the most and on this network we applied the Louvain algorithm that helps us discover “hidden” communities.
community is a group of accounts with a density of connections higher than the average and the most followed account by the other members of the community is considered the most central one.
We noticed that the MEPs tend to follow accounts from their country and in many cases 2 MEPs from the same country have more accounts in common than 2 MEPs from different countries.
This is why the communities the algorithm shows us are gathering together mostly MEPs from the same country and is then easy to identify a Greek community, a French one, a Swedish one, an Italian one etc.

In the first episode, we described the Greek and Cypriot community and the French one.
Second one will focus on the Polish one, the Italian and the Danish.


Polish MEPs — Twitter Community

The Polish community is generated by the connections of 32 Polish MEPs.
The most central account is the one of Radosław Sikorski (@sikorskiradek) now senior fellow at the Harvard University’s Center for European Studies but in the past Marshal of the Sejm and Minister of Foreign Affairs. In second place, we find Donald Tusk (in this community both with @donaldtusk and @eucopresident) Polish president of the European Council, several positions above Commission President Juncker (@JunckerEU).
Paweł Graś (@pawelgras), senior political and communication advisor of president Tusk also seems to be very popular among Polish MEPs.

The Polish Community is rich of politicians operating at national level like the Prime Minister Beata Szydło (@PremierRP), Jan Vincent-Rostowski (@janrostowski) former Minister of Finance in Poland, Władysław Kosiniak-Kamysz (@KosiniakKamysz) leader of the Polish People Party, Paweł Zalewski (@ZalewskiPawel) former Member of the European Parliament and Agnieszka Pomaska (@pomaska) member of the Polish Parliament and Vice-chair of EU Affairs Committee.

Exploring media and journalists, we can see the most followed media outlets are TVN24 (@tvn24), TVP INFO (@tvp_info) and the political magazine 300 Polityka (@300polityka). Leading journalists are, instead, Konrad Piasecki (@KonradPiasecki) from Radio Zet, political commentator Igor Janke (@IgorJanke), Krzysztof Skórzyński from TVN (@skorzynski) and Bartosz Węglarczyk (@bweglarczyk) from Onet.
Among top 30 accounts, we find a political think tank too: Instytut Obywatelski (@IObywatelski), affiliated with the Civic Platform Party.


Italian MEPs — Twitter Community

The Italian Community (based on the connections of 65 Italian MEPs) mostly contains media outlets: news agencies (@Adnkronos@Agenzia_Ansa), all news channels (@SkyTg24@RaiNews), newspapers (@Corriere@Repubblicait@sole24ore@LaStampa@fattoquotidiano) and media specialized on European politics (@eunewsit@ansaeuropa).

A very distinctive trait is that there’s only one journalist in the top 30 central accounts: Mario Calabresi (@mariocalabresi) director of the newspaper La Repubblica.

Differently from what we saw for the Polish Community, we cannot find many national politicians in the most followed accounts. There’s of course the premier Matteo Renzi (@matteorenzi) and the other two politicians there are Enrico Letta former Prime Minister now President of the Jacques Delors Institute (@EnricoLetta) and Laura Boldrini who presides the Camera (@lauraboldrini).

In the top 30 accounts we can also find the omnipresent President Juncker (@JunckerEU) along with Federica Mogherini (@FedericaMog) High Representative of the EU for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy.

Stereotypically enough, Pope Francis ranks high in this community with the Italian official account @Pontifex_it.


Danish MEPs — Twitter Community

If we saw almost no journalists in the Italian Community, the Danish one (based on the connections of 11 Danish MEPs) is full of them: Niels Kvale (@NielsKvale) correspondent from Bruxelles and Rome for Danmarks Radio, Jens Ringberg (@JensRingberg), Ask Rostrup (@askrost) and Uffe Tang (@Uffe_Tang) also from Danmarks Radio, Lotte Mejlhede (@mejlhedetv2) Europe-correspondent for TV2, Mette Østergaard (@metteoestergard) from TV2 news, Bent Winther (@Winther12) editor at Politiko.

In the top 30 there’s almost no place for media outlets, the only ones are TV2 News (@tv2newsdk) and specialized media Altinget EU (@AltingetEU).

Unusually we don’t find Juncker in this community, but another commissioner is here, rising star Margrethe Vestager (@vestager) European Commissioner for Competition. There’s also space for former Commissioner for Climate Action Connie Hedegaard (@CoHedegaard).
European institutions are represented as well by Anne Mette Vestergaard (@AnneMetteEP) chief of the European Parliament office in Denmark.

Another popular account seems to be the one of Bjarke Møller (@BjarkeMoeller) director of the political think tank EUROPA.

Focusing on national politicians, the Minister for children and education Ellen Trane Nørby (@EllenTraneNorby) is the most central one, along with MP Jakob Ellemann-Jensen (@JakobEllemann), leader of the Radical Left Morten Østergaard (@oestergaard), former EP Member and Minister of Food Dan Jørgensen (@DanJoergensen) and the Minister of Justice Søren Pind (@sorenpind).

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

Willing to know more about methodology or complete results?
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