Lots of political chat on Twitter, but few politicians take part, study finds.

The Canadian Press ~ The News
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TORONTO — A new study finds Twitter is becoming a great place to have a political conversation in Canada, except for politicians.

Tamara Small, an assistant professor at Mount Allison University, has been analyzing the 140-character bursts of political chatter on Twitter.

Small had hoped to learn about how politicians use Twitter, but found it’s the media and political junkies who make the greatest use of the Twitterverse.

She says her ”politician-Twitter study isn’t a very interesting study because politicians aren’t doing very interesting things with Twitter.”

The main problem with politicians’ tweets, she says, is they are too self-directed — often updates about travelling or visiting.

She says media accounted for about 10 per cent of the Twitter conversations with the #cdnpoli tag, compared to politicians who accounted for 1.4 per cent.

Small analyzed thousands of “tweets” labelled with what Twitter users call a “hashtag” to label conversations and observations of a similar theme. Canadian political junkies on Twitter often use the #cdnpoli tag to deliver their commentary, reports or bulletins.

Small’s study was posted this week at the Congress of Humanities gathering at Concordia University in Montreal. (Toronto Star)

Organizations: Mount Allison University, Congress of Humanities, Concordia University

Geographic location: TORONTO, Canada, Montreal

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