Free tools to analyse Commissioners on Twitter

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Last week, we gathered information to present a state-of-play when it comes to the EU Commissioners and twitter.

In this blog post, I’ll tell you how I did the research using free tools and then show you some of my results. (I collected most of my information the 23rd of February 2012.) Then I’ll ask for comments and suggestions when it comes to what else we should be looking for and how we should be using our knowledge to communicate more effectively.

This state-of-play excludes Commissioner Füle, who opened his twitter account yesterday. How I got the information:

  1. Number of Facebook likes: I visited the Facebook pages of each Commissioner and collected the number of likes.  Commissioner Georgieva is the most popular Commissioner on Facebook. She posts in English and Bulgarian (more English than her native Bulgarian.) By the way, this task would be much easier if we had access to the accounts, so Commissioners feel free to add the COMM SOCIAL MEDIA TEAM mailbox to the admins of your page.
  2. Number of Twitter followers: I visited the twitter accounts of each Commissioner on the afternoon of the same day (the 23rd of February 2012.) I collected the number of followers and tweets and put them in my spreadsheet. Commissioner Kroes has the most followers on Twitter. Given the Digital Agenda and her recent tweetchat, this makes sense. With Twitter, you have to engage a lot to get more followers, and Commissioner Kroes does this (in English largely, but she does chat in Dutch and a few other EU languages - especially when it comes to her posts about the Digital Agenda.)
  3. Number of tweets: This I also collected from the Commissioners’ public twitter accounts. Once again, Commissioner Kroes leads the Commissioners in number of tweets, strengthening the argument that more tweets + more engagement or tweetchats = more followers when it comes to Twitter.
  4. Tweets per follower: In my excel sheet, I divided the number of followers by the number of tweets to see how many followers per tweet each Commissioner had. Some Commissioners had almost 44 followers per tweet – often because they don’t tweet a lot. Commissioner Barnier has almost 9,000 followers yet he’s only tweeted 203 times. This is not bad – Christine Lagarde, Managing Director of the IMF, has tweeted only 196 times yet has 39,800+ followers and is, according to Foreign Policy Magazine, a member of the ‘must-follow’ global ‘Twitterati.’ Commissioners averaged about 13 tweets per follower.
  5. Age of Twitter account (in days): This I did in two steps. I went to How long have you been tweeting? and found the age of each twitter account (see below.) I then went to Date Duration Calculator to find out how old each account was in days. Commissioner Barnier had the oldest Twitter account (1192 days) while Commissioner Vassiliou had the youngest (25 days.)
  6. Tweets per day: I divided the number of tweets by the age of the account in days. Commissioners average around 2 tweets a day.
  7. Followers per day: I divided the number of followers by the age of the account in days. Commissioners average a gain of 15 followers per day. Commissioner Kroes and Commissioner Malmström average the most (between 48 and 60 per day.)

Below we provide a thumbnail. Click to get a quick glance at the accounts.Click on the imgae to see the overview

Here’s another way of looking at some of the data – this is a graph rather than a chart. ‘EC’ is the European Commission’s account @EU_Commission.

I keep links to the Commissioners’ pages on Facebook and twitter accounts in a spreadsheet so that I can collect these facts about once a month. That way, we can see how each Commissioner does over time on twitter and Facebook. The goal is not to compare Commissioners against each other, but to see how each does now in comparison with his or her past performance. After all, each Commissioner has his or her own audience and uses different social media platforms in unique ways. For example, some Commissioners tweet in English and French but post on Facebook in their own languages. Some talk about their initiatives while others are more broad in what they discuss.

Some accounts are run by teams that support the Commissioner in his or her communications rather than the Commissioner him/herself, while other Commissioner accounts tweet only what has been expressly approved by the Commissioner. So it’s important to look at each Commissioner individually while still keeping in mind the overall impact of these important EU officials in social media.

In case you want to make your own spreadsheet, here are links to the different accounts:

Name on Facebook Name on Twitter
Commissioner Kristalina Georgieva 
Commissioner Kristalina Georgieva 
Commissioner Michel Barnier 
Commissioner Michel Barnier 
Commissioner Neelie Kroes  Commissioner Neelie Kroes 
Commissioner Dacian Ciolos   
Commissioner Maria Damanaki 
Commissioner Maria Damanaki 
Commissioner Janez Potocnik  Janez Potočnik
Commissioner Connie Hedegaard  Commissioner Connie Hedegaard 
Commissioner Cecilia Malmström Commissioner Cecilia Malmström
Commissioner Janusz Lewandowski  
Commissioner Maroš Šefčovič Commissioner Maroš Šefčovič 
Commissioner Algirdas Šemeta  Commissioner Algirdas Šemeta 
  Commissioner Andris Piebalgs 
  Commissioner László Andor 
  Commissioner Siim Kallas 
  Commissioner Viviane Reding 
  Commissioner Androulla Vassiliou
  Commissioner Štefan Füle

Next up, we plan to start paying close attention to the followers and the subject matter of each Commissioner to better understand who they are talking to about what.

Our recurring question is: we’ve got some data – what does it tell us? And how can we use the information to improve communications by the Commissioners? Please let us know what you think so we can be sure to include your ideas in our discussions.


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