By Avery Wendell (@awendell98)
With respect to the mass public, Twitter is not “real life.” However, that doesn’t mean it doesn’t matter.
The site is used regularly by the vast majority of people professionally involved in politics, while the President uses it daily to discuss and promote policy (and go on racist tirades against congresswomen who criticize him). Other prominent members of Congress, like Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, have developed large audiences that allow them to share their message with millions of people in real-time. Recognizing the importance of tracking the shifting media landscape, Axios produced an interesting graphic at the beginning of this year, tracking the number of interactions important U.S. political accounts generated over the preceding month.
This inspired us at Data for Progress to begin tracking similar metrics. Below, we have recreated and updated the Axios graphic using the same accounts (@realDonaldTrump, @AOC, @KamalaHarris, @BarackObama, @CNN, @SpeakerPelosi, @SenSchumer, @thehill, @ABC, @nytimes, @MSNBC, @NBCNews, @seanhannity, @washingtonpost, @Reuters) along with Kevin McCarthy (@GOPLeader ) and Mitch McConnell (@senatemajldr). Over the next few months we may expand the number of accounts we track and how we track them.
But to facilitate further analysis, we will also provide a breakout of the accounts’ individual tweets, so you can see what tweets are (and are not) moving the needle.
The obvious takeaway is just how dominant Donald Trump’s account really is; 40m interactions (retweets and likes) between 6/15 and 7/15 is more than twice as much as @AOC’s over the same period of time. Equally notable, however, is the size of @AOC’s audience over her fellow Democrats. Speaker Pelosi was technically correct when she told Maureen Dowd, that Representative Ocasio-Cortez and her fellow “Squad” members are, within the halls of Congress, “four people with four votes.” But on Twitter, AOC’s voice carries far farther; her account accounted generated 17x the number of retweets and likes as Speaker Pelosi’s.
Avery Wendell (@awendell98) is a senior advisor to Data for Progress.