Today is election day in Québec. Throughout the day, I will be publishing analysis of the use of Twitter during the campaign period. I’ve already looked at the key issues, the most popular tweet of the campaign and elements of the chatter.

In this post I’m going to focus on Twitter participation styles through the use of three types of tweets, and the level of engagement among participants in the chatter. Below, I consider tweets issued during both the election campaign and today, election day.


It’s fair to say that the duration of any campaign means there is (theoretically) a large number of opportunities for people to participate in online chatter. With that comes more opportunities to see and respond to the chatter.

My ongoing research shows Canadian politics does not inspire much in the way of conversation. I typically see a healthy amount of original content (regular tweets) and very little conversation reflected in so-called @replies (usually 12% or less). Most of what we see if amplification in the form of re-tweets. These are analogous to the huddled masses at a rally cheering on the person at the mic.

The current Québec campaign validated my observations.

My expectation this morning is there would be almost no conversation and less amplification. Most of the traffic would be original content; typically people reminding others to get out to vote, announcing they had voted and then tweeting their thoughts and reactions tonight as the results become public. Traffic so far suggests that’s where we’re heading today. As of 4:30pm regular tweets are up 6% while conversation and amplification are down 3% each. I fully expect to see that trend continue into this evening.


It’s also fairly common for the majority of tweets on a particular theme to be issued by drive-by tweeters; participants who come and go in a single tweet. For many, politics is a passing concern. On Twitter, that usually manifests itself in the form of a single retweet or single pronouncement on a particularly important issue.

Québec election Twitter engagement rates map nicely over my other observations. A majority of people are in for a single tweet and participation rates decrease at each deepening level of engagement.

I expect that we’ll see only a slight redistribution of engagement rates today. As the day progresses, it’s likely the more highly engaged participants will be online and tweeting more actively as the election results become public. That’s when the real analysis from political journalists, pundits and enthusiasts will become more prominent.

Analysis performed using Marketwire/Sysomos Heartbeat.

Featured photo: Standing on a Soapbox… Literally! uploaded to Flickr by psgreen01.

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