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

Members of the European Parliament — Twittersphere and communities

This will be the last episode where we describe single communities.
In the next one we will try to draw some conclusions. If you feel to, send us your feedback and we will discuss it in the next post.

If you are interested in seeing some of the other things we are working on, check our websites Elif Lab (corporate) andThinkingAbout.EU (our project on the European institutions).

You can find previous episodes of our research here.
We already described other communities (Italian, Spanish, Greek, French, Belgian, Dutch, Swedish, Danish, Polish).

Here we will analyze the still-European-UK-one, the German and the Austrian.

We collected a list of 643 Twitter accounts of the Members of the European Parliament (available on our Github) and decided to study who they follow.
Among these accounts 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; the most followed account by the other members of the community is considered the most central one.
Since 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, we can see country-based communities emerging from the network analysis.


Austrian MEPs — Twitter Community

The Austrian community is mainly based on the Twitter connections of 15 Austrian MEPs.

The most central account is the one of the tv journalist Armin Wolf (@ArminWolf). We find many other journalists in the top 30, like Alexandra Föderl-Schmid (@foederlschmid) chief-editor at Der Standard, Julia Ortner (@Julia_Ortner) from, political commentator Corinna Milborn (@corinnamilborn), Florian Klenk (@florianklenk) from and Thomas Mohr (@thomas_mohr) from Puls 4 News.

We also have different media outlets: national ones like Der Standard (@derStandardat) and Kurier (@KURIERat) and European ones like Politico Europe (@POLITICOEurope) and EurActiv (@EurActiv).

Exploring the presence of politicians in the list, Europe lines up Jean-Claude Juncker (@JunckerEU), Federica Mogherini (@FedericaMog) and Frans Timmermans (@TimmermansEU). Former MEP Jörg Leichtfried (@jleichtfried) now Austrian Minister for Transport, Innovation and Technology is also there, but there are no others Austrian politicians in the most popular 30 accounts. A relevant position is occupied by Karin Strobl (@KarinStrobl) chief communications officer of Austrian Greens.

In the top 30, there are also the political analyst Hubert Sickinger (@HubertSickinger) and Paul Schmidt (@_PaulSchmidt) from the Austrian Society for European Politics which is also in the list with its own account (@oegfe).


German MEPs — Twitter Community

To analyze the German community we took into account the connections of 70 German MEPs.

Starting with media outlets, the most popular ones are ARD newscast (@tagesschau), weekly publication Die Zeit (@zeitonline), newspaper Süddeutsche Zeitung (@SZ), news magazine Der Spiegel (@SPIEGELONLINE) and radio station Deutschlandfunk (@DLF).

Representing EU-level media, we find EurActiv (@EurActiv), Politico Europe (@POLITICOEurope) and Parliament Magazine (@Parlimag).

Better ranked journalist is Rolf-Dieter Krause (@rdk_bxl) former manager of the ARD studios in Brussels. Other names here are Christian Feld (@ChrFeld) now Nieman Fellow at Harvard and previously EU affairs correspondent for ARD TV, Florian Eder (@florianeder) managing editor at Politico Europe, Peter Spiegel (@SpiegelPeter) news editor of Financial Times and Stefan Leifert (@StefanLeifert), correspondent in Bruxelles for the ZDF.

The community counts in many EU-level politicians: President Juncker (@JunckerEU) with the head of Cabinet Martin Selmayr (@MartinSelmayr), commissioners Günther H. Oettinger (@GOettingerEU), Frans Timmermans (@TimmermansEU) and Cecilia Malmström (@MalmstromEU), High Representative Federica Mogherini ( @FedericaMog) and President of the European Council Donald Tusk (@eucopresident).

German politicians are less represented with only the SPD leader Sigmar Gabriel (@sigmargabriel) in the list. Steffen Seibert (@RegSprecher), former journalist and now speaker of the Government also ranks high.

United Kingdom:

British MEPs — Twitter Community

The UK community is based on the connections of 64 British MEPs.

The most central account is the one of BBC show Daily & Sunday Politics (@daily_politics), one of the many BBC-related accounts in the list. We have BBC Breaking News (@BBCBreaking), BBC Politics (@BBCPolitics) and BBC Newsnight (@BBCNewsnight) as well, while Parliament Magazine (@Parlimag) and EurActiv (@EurActiv) represent EU-focused media outlets.

Popular journalists among British MEPs are Andrew Neil (@afneil) who also presents the Daily & Sunday Politics, Nick Robinson (@bbcnickrobinson) from BBC Radio 4, European correspondent Georg von Harrach (@yourmeps), Laura Kuenssberg (@bbclaurak) BBC Political editor and Michael Crick (@MichaelLCrick), political correspondent for Channel 4 News. One of the few bloggers we’ve seen so far, Guido Fawkes (@guidofawkes) is in the list as well.

We are also able to identify different think tanks in the top 30 most popular accounts: British Influence (@britinfluence), Open Europe (@OpenEurope), European Movement UK (@euromove) and also a poll aggregator, Britain Elects (@britainelects).

Not many politicians populate this community: Donald Tusk (@eucopresident), President Juncker (@JunckerEU) and David Cameron (@David_Cameron), are, along with the official UK Prime Minister account (@Number10gov) the only ones in the top 30.

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