WSJ Finds ‘Weinergate’ Chills Congressional Tweeting; More Followers Hop on @RepWeiner’s Account

The Wall Street Journal put together a terrific graphic showing how ‘Weinergate’ caused a (likely temporary) chilling effect among Congressional Tweet Frequency. According to the analysis, Democrats are tweeting 29 percent less and Republicans microblog 27 percent less.

Understandable? Perhaps knowing now that the content of those 140 characters or less now will be up for scrutiny thanks to Rep. Anthony Weiner and his cyber correspondence with a Texas woman (and possibly others).

Still, the New York Democrat remains defiant despite calls from within his own party to resign. From a social media standpoint, though, the Congressman’s Twitter following continues to blow it up, now expected to reach 76,000-plus with no slowing in sight. His account, @RepWeiner, hasn’t had a single tweet since June 1.

Still, new followers jump on board with Weiner at least 1,000 per day with more than 5,000 a day at the peak of the scandal, according to TwitterCounter.com.

With every public scandal or controversy, social media engagements go up with whomever stands at the center. The American desire to rubberneck seems to drive curiosity-seekers to monitor the accounts of those involved, from Charlie Sheen to Blake Shelton to Gilbert Gottfried.

Rep. Weiner is no different.

More Analysis of @RepWeiner’s Twitter Account

That said, spending a little extra time with his account, I found some interesting information regarding his following pattern. It’s obvious Weiner tweeted a great deal, starting in late April (see chart at the conclusion of this entry). His tweets were sporadic, sometimes none and sometimes as many as 20 a day. But interestingly prior to that, there’s a period in which Weiner posts exactly six per day through much of April.

From mid-February until the end of March, Weiner tweets nothing and then prior to that, the @RepWeiner account tweets exactly two a day.

As I am not a news person, I can look at these trends and make an interesting suggestion that perhaps Weiner’s staff did his tweeting for him up until around April 12, when it appears he might have taken it over.

Also consider this: From March 5 to April 11, @RepWeiner’s account increased those it followed each day by one — a net increase by one without fail. Then on April 12, it added seven new followers total and another seven on April 13 (see chart for Step 1). From then on, the account sees a stepping pattern in which someone goes on a following binge twice, following a net of 20 new people on May 2 (Step 2), six more on May 12 (Step 3) and 53 more on May 16 (Step 4). Small other engagements occur bringing the account up to its current 197.

The May 16 following itself is interesting, as it is 53 more people — more than a quarter of those @RepWeiner follows.  These are the latest to for Weiner to start following. And the list is riddled with a mixture of logical, odd and interesting. In fact, examining the full list of almost 200 followers and you’re left with a suspicious feeling that this might not be quite the stalker man thought. For every single woman, there’s two single guys.

In fact, if you break down the account by gender, it’s frankly heavily male, practically by two-to-one. I’ve noticed ABC News Jonathan Karl making hay over the fact some are young women not even in his district.

Indeed, this is true. There are a few, but many are. There’s a “fifty and fabulous” woman among them as well. Each who follows have a political leaning. Some outside his district appear to be Congressional aides. But there’s just some people Rep. Weiner just apparently wanted to follow and, quite frankly, they’re very male.

Let’s take a look at Evan Ross, a water polo player with the account @P3RiMUTT. His avatar could be considered the most provocative of all the ones Rep. Weiner follows since Ross is dressed — or undressed — for a game.

In fact, Ross tweeted on May 14:

[box type=”note” style=”rounded” icon=”http://michaelcheek.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/05/twitter-icon-24.png”]
@PER1MUTT

Evan Ross
 

@RepWeiner why haven’t u followed me?

[/box]

Apparently, Anthony Weiner did decide to follow.

The mixture of those he followed lacks a conspiracy, although I imagine the news outlets are using every means necessary to uncover any other women. Dayva Cate (@dayvasegal) one of those few young women followed by @RepWeiner, offers her own explanation at her blog. She closes it out with this statement:

[quote style=”boxed”]He (Anthony Weiner) never @ replied me, he never DMed me…. Some rando also tweeted the url of my Facebook Profile. Which is no big deal, since that part of it is public, but it’s like…really?? Who cares. Personally I think he did it because I have big boobs and I’m wearing a bathing suit in the picture since I was at the beach. Some people just need to get a life.

So there you have it. I am not a victimized harlot, slut, prostitute or whore. I am a politically interested grown-ass woman who thinks a politician who fights for women’s rights, worker’s rights, social justice, holding people accountable, gay marriage, good economic policies (imo) etc is awesome.[/quote]

In other words, you might find that Rep. Weiner’s twitter following is pretty boring.

When you break it down, the vast majority turns out to be media organizations and people — from liberal MSNBC commentator Rachel Maddow to will-she-or-won’t-she Tea Party candidate Sarah Palin (I had a tough time deciding if she was media or political, but I ended up with media… for now).

While Weiner’s media following includes the big journalists like Anderson Cooper, he also follows smaller local organizations for his home district and the reporters there.

Then there’s the regular people. With 32 percent of them, it’s a nice chunk and many hail from New York City — just as you’d expect. But there’s also a lot of Congressional aides and then a selection of people from all over. But it’s not some unusual collection of females. It is males and females alike with nothing obvious to show a particular reason why.

The next largest group is political wonks like himself followed by a smattering of Hollywood stars including the following:[unordered_list style=”star”]

[/unordered_list]I want to point out for a “straight man” who’s supposedly into nice women, I’m noticing none of the femme fatals of the current Hollywood elite.

He also follows some hockey players, commentators and a boxing guy along with a couple of local businesses in New York City for his sports group.

Weiner proved to be his own undoing. However, considering how many other Congressional members have real affairs, this cyber one doesn’t really seem all that substantial.

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Michael Cheek

With more than 20 years of communication experience, Michael Cheek offers solid marketing expertise, especially in the digital frontier. He currently resides in Georgia but he's open to relocate anywhere the opportunities take him. Learn more at http://MichaelCheek.com. You can follow him on Twitter at http://Twitter.com/MichaelCheek and see more about his professional experience at http://LinkedIn.com/in/MichaelCheek. Reach him via e-mail at mcheek@gmail.com.

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