Those actively following or engaging with bencher election activities on Twitter will recognize this hashtag. It’s been pretty exciting to watch and be a part of. In the past week (April 10th-16th), 158 different contributors issued nearly 600 tweets and retweets with the #LSBencher hashtag. These tweets reached an estimated 266,000 people and appeared in user timelines an estimated 620,000 times. That’s huge!! Right?
Well, not necessarily.
Nearly 100 of the tweets came from three people.
Nearly one-third of the timeline views are attributable to three people, and nearly one-half are attributable to 6 people.
Moreover, and independent of the hyperactive participation from a few folks (mea culpa), the big timeline view numbers need to be taken with a grain of salt. Numbers may vary, but I have reason to believe that the actual number of impressions are closer to 20% of what’s show in the first visual. Twitter offers users access to personal analytics of impressions and engagements. Here’s a typical example from my results.
So a more accurate guess of the #LSBencher reach over the past week is 54,000 people and 124,000 views. Still great, but we need to trim this back a little further to account for people who saw these tweets and are not eligible to vote in the LSUC Bencher election. Again, numbers vary. For some Twitter users, a significant majority of followers may well be Ontario lawyers, while others (Michael Geist, for example) might attract a broader constituency. Twitter tells me that about 40% of my followers are in Ontario and about 50% have a demonstrated interest in law. That suggests we could reasonably trim the reach number by up to 80%, but let’s be a little more generous and assume that half the people that see the #LSBencher tweets are eligible voters.
So we have potentially caused 27,000 people to see the tweets with the #LSBencher hashtag 62,000 times. It’s unlikely that the exposure was evenly distributed. Applying the 80/20 rule (20% of the people seeing 80% of the tweets) would leave us with 5400 people informed by about 50,000 tweets.
That’s still pretty good. It’s certainly enough to inform a good number of voters. Moreover, none of the above takes into account tweets under the #younglawyerswantin hashtag promoted by candidate Renatta Austin, or election specific tweets with other or even no hashtags.
A final (and self-congratulatory, sorry) piece of good news, is that 20 candidates have had their twitter handles mentioned in at least 10 #LSBencher tweets issued by someone other than themselves – an encouraging sign of broader community engagement.
It is far too early to tell if Twitter engagement will make a difference at the ballot box in this campaign, but it’s safe to say it’s already achieved relevance.
Voting closes April 30th. There are plenty of ways to learn about the candidates and the issues. The #LSBencher hashtag is a good place to start.