How Twitter influenced the vote on Seanad abolition

Illustration of a woman using a smartphone, Seanad aboliton
User engagement / Stock photo

Twitter and the Seanad Abolition

A week ago, a referendum was held in order to decide whether to abolish the Seanad. That kind of decision is normally the subject of controversial discussions, and especially online where people can express their opinions openly.

That’s why Edelman Digital in Dublin gleaned through the Twitter traffic to see what was being said during this time on the run up to the voting.

Their study showed that it was mainly during the weekend of polling that conversations were very intense: 13,136 conversations online with 94pc of these on Twitter.

The most interesting part of the study was the key online influencers. In fact, it showed that out of 41 Irish senators on Twitter, the active accounts were dominated by Labour and Independent.

For example, Senator David Norris was the most retweeted when he tweeted that he would simply vote no: 213 retweets in total.

The top ten tweeters were…

  • Jillian Van Turnhout, Independent: 4,631 followers
  • David Norris, Independent: 28,041 followers
  • Fiach Mac Conghail, Independent: 8,167 followers
  • John Crown, Independent; 9,302 followers
  • Fidelma Healy Eames, Fine Gael; 2,409 followers
  • Susan O’Keefe, Labour: 2,265 followers
  • Ivana Bacik, Labour: 10,479 followers
  • Kathryn Reilly, Sinn Fein: 2,012 followers
  • John Gilroy, Labour: 1,643 followers
  • Averil Power, Fianna Fail: 3,646 followers

Senators were very engaged on Twitter, posting tweets several times a day or per hour. That’s why they have greater influence unlike the senators who publish tweets weekly only.

The STAR Team

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