If Twitter decided our next prime minister…

If the number of Twitter followers decided who should be Australia’s next prime minister, then Kevin Rudd would win in a landslide.

Currently K-Rudd has over 1.1 million Twitter followers making him by far the most popular tweeting politician in Australia, with four times as many followers as our prime minister, Julia Gillard.

And with over 5,000 tweets, Kevin Rudd is also the most active politician on the social media site.

Tony Abbott (our next prime minister it seems) has around 76,000 followers, a lot fewer than the 116,000 who follow his main Liberal (but far more enlightened) rival, Malcolm Turnbull.

Turnbull – the shadow communications minister – is also the second highest tweeter after Kevin Rudd.

It is interesting (and perhaps telling) that in both the case of the prime minister and leader of the opposition – they have less of an audience on Twitter than their main party rivals.

Interestingly opposition immigration minister Scott Morrison is third highest tweeter, but not many people appear interested in what he tweets – he has less than 8,000 followers.

Here’s the most followed (perhaps most popular) politicians on Twitter as of August 21 (more commentary underneath):

Politician Followers Tweets
  1. Kevin Rudd
1.143 million 5,092
  1. Julia Gillard
263,000 1,043
  1. Malcolm Turnbull
116,000 4,580
  1. Tony Abbott
76,000 841
  1. Joe Hockey
45,000 962
  1. Wayne Swan
21,000 770
  1. Bob Carr
18,000 742
  1. Julie Bishop
16,000 887
  1. Peter Garrett
14,000 690
  1. Bill Shorten
13,000 358
  1. Anthony Albanese
12,000 1,271
  1. Rob Oakeshott
11,000 428
  1. Barnaby Joyce
10,000 776
  1. Penny Wong
10,000 161
  1. Scott Morrison
7,900 3,296
  1. Greg Hunt
7,000 899
  1. Andrew Robb
6,900 553
  1. Chris Bowen
6,600 298
  1. Wyatt Roy*
6,500 278
  1. Bob Katter
5,800 136
  1. Simon Crean
4,800 270
  1. Eric Abetz
3,600 646

* If you are wondering who Wyatt Roy is, he is Australia’s youngest MP.

Of course it would be naïve of me to even suggest that the number of twitter followers correlates with a Federal election result.

But the observation can surely be made, that if you follow someone on Twitter you are interested in hearing what they have to say, whether you agree or not.

Secondly the number of Twitter followers you have must say something about the willingness of younger people to listen to what you have to say. In this regard, it appears the youth of Australia (many of whom may not yet be old enough to vote) appear to be more interested in what Gillard and Rudd have to say then Abbott and Hockey.

And thirdly, while it might not win you an election, few would argue that Twitter has now surpassed Facebook as the most influential social media platform – just think of how quickly an ill-thought out tweet can ruin a reputation.

Lastly, I should point out that Senator Stephen Conroy, Australia’s communications and broadband minister – and someone advocating for censorship of the internet via a government filer – does not have a twitter account as far as I can garner.

Conroy’s fake Twitter account – as the minister for censorship and facism has around 370 followers.

Other prominent politicians who are not on Twitter include Christopher Pyne and Defence Minister Stephen Smith.

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