It’s a rare event that energizes the #cdnpoli Twitter chat on a weekend. Especially a long weekend. Yesterday provided just such an event.
With the intensification of the Senate expense scandal, particularly as it relates to Senator Mike Duffy and now-former PMO Chief of Staff Nigel Wright’s generous $90,000 to the Senator, yesterday’s #cdnpoli reached a fever pitch. In all, 17,129 tweets were issued; 9,408 were immediately identifiable as relevant to the aforementioned scandal. An average weekday in #cdnpoli chatter of late has been around 9,000 tweets from 5,000 to 6,000 sources; weekends often see less than half the weekday activity from 3,000 to 3,500 sources.
Also noteworthy is yesterday’s contributions skewed 61% male, 39% female — a slightly more balanced contribution rate than the 70/30 split typical of ongoing #cdnpoli chatter.
Let’s contextualize that level of activity. There were 4,897 unique contributors to the complete chatter (an average of 3.5 tweets per person). Of those, 3,365 contributed to the chatter about the scandal (average 2.8/person). The top three contributors combined for 408 of the tweets about the scandal (4% of the traffic) — a committed bunch to be sure.
The chatter continues today. As of 12pmET, 4,565 tweets have been issued by 1,261 contributors on the scandal including an online effort generally with #PMHarperMustResign (some as #HarperMustResign). To contextualize that effort, 773 people have issue 3,447 tweets identifying issues with Prime Minister Harper, his caucus and their collective political missteps and calling for the resignation of the Prime Minister — that’s roughly 4.4 tweets per person.
UPDATE: As of 4:30pmET, there has been 12,476 #cdnpoli tweets today (3,267 sources); 7,407 (1,431 sources) of which are part of the campaign to get Stephen Harper to resign as Prime Minister.
UPDATE: Final tallies for May 20... 20,371 #CDNpoli tweets from 4,991 sources (~4/source), 10,715 of which were also tagged #PMHarperMustResign from 2,144 sources (~5/source); 4,475 #CDNpoli tweets from 2,148 sources were about the Senate/Duffy/Wright issue (~2.1/source).
An online campaign that ran last July 1, Canada Day, called #DenounceHarper was a coordinated attempt to discredit the PM. The campaign attracted media attention for the volume of tweets issued that day causing the effort to become a Canadian “trend” on Twitter. The number of tweets, nearly 22,000, was impressive enough to attract the media attention. However, the number of issuers, just over 5,000 Twitter, suggests a vocal and committed bunch rather than one which inspired widespread participation.
The problem, if only one need be identified, is timing. True the issue is hot right now and the desire to strike is ripe. However, Canada Day and Victoria Day are hardly attractive days for people to put down their beer to tweet something political. Most Canadians engaging on social media today are focused on the day off from work, being with family and friends, and yes — even cracking open a cold beer and grilling something on the BBQ.