WASHINGTON – Your representative in the House is almost certainly on Twitter. Your senator definitely is. But how are they using the social network? Who has the most followers on the Hill? Though simple counts are a blunt instrument for measuring activity on Twitter, scraping together follower count, following count and number of tweets for every member of Congress turned up some interesting findings.
Republicans have more followers than Democrats. The median Republican House member has 6,872 Twitter followers, compared with 6,015 followers for the median Democratic member. Republican senators enjoy an even wider advantage: 23,252 followers vs. 19,429 for Democrats.
Republicans also follow more people on Twitter. The median Republican in Congress — House and Senate — follows about 100 more Twitter users than the median Democrat — 613 vs. 517. Following more people might mean that Republicans have a better sense not only of the national conversation on Twitter but also of what their constituents are saying.
Senate Democrats tweet the most; House Republicans tweet more than House Democrats. The median House Republican has tweeted 1,282 times, while the median House Democrat has made only 986 tweets. But it’s a different story in the Senate, where the median Democrat’s tweet count is 1,792 compared with the Republican’s 1,605.
Seven of the 10 most-followed legislators are Republicans. With 1.9 million followers, Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., is Twitter’s reigning king of the Hill. He has about 400,000 more followers than the No. 2 legislator, Sen. Cory Booker, D-N.J.
Only eight House members do not have individual Twitter accounts, four Democrats, including Rep. Collin Peterson, Minn., and four Republicans. All Senators are on Twitter.
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