Maine gubernatorial candidate engagement on Twitter

Derek Viger made an interesting observation yesterday on his Twitter account:

Today’s most active #megov tweeters seem to be @rosascarcelli and @Abbott4Governor Does this point to something?

Frequency is a good measure of confidence and passion on Twitter. Sure, there’s the argument of quality versus quantity, but in general it seems to be more valuable to keep your followers up-to-date more often than not.

But Twitter isn’t all about broadcasting. For me, the real value of Twitter is the possibility of engagement; a candidate has the ability to easily address questions and criticism from other Twitter users. How would the candidates stack up if engagement was taken into account?

I ran a quick analysis of each major party candidate’s Twitter account. Here’s how it breaks down:

Maine gubernatorial candidate Twitter engagements

The numbers above aren’t perfect; unfortunately, they don’t include new-style retweets and seem to be missing a few others, too (ah, the wonderful quality of the Twitter API). I defined “engagement” as any tweet that began with @ or that included an @ preceded by a space (to filter out email addresses). It seems to be pretty accurate. (The chart above was made with the Google Chart Generator. Great tool.)

UPDATE: Lyle notes that I didn’t include Eliot Cutler’s tweets in the data. I’d originally only geared the post to primary candidates, but it’s a fair point and I’ve added him to the chart. Derek asked about engagements as a percentage of the total number of tweets, and they’re as follows: Abbott, 7%; Beardsley, 1%; Cutler, 29%; Jacobson: 40%; LePage, 18%; McGowan: 24%; Mills: 22%; Mitchell, 1%; Otten, 4%; Poliquin, 6%; Rowe, 28%; and Scarcelli, 32%. As a whole, 25% of the Democrats’ tweets have been engagements; Republicans have engaged with users in 17% of their tweets.

June 6, 2010 at 11:56 am
Hi! I'm Justin Russell. I'm a proud Mainer living in the Bangor area. Thanks for visiting! I'd love to hear your thoughts about this post in the comments below. If you'd like to stay in touch, you can subscribe to this blog's RSS feed or follow me at @justinrussell on Twitter.


  1. KayInMaineJune 6, 2010 at 12:17 pm

    I would say it’s because the Scarcelli camp doesn’t have a lot of money and is using Twitter as a way to keep in contact. At the Maine Democratic State Convention, there weren’t very many supporters there for her compared to what Rowe had. Just my two cents…

  2. KevinJune 6, 2010 at 1:24 pm

    If you think the “spontaneous” floor demonstrations at the state convention is in any way an accurate measure of rank and file support of a candidate, you’re badly mistaken. 300,000 registered Ds in Maine and barely 1,000 took part at the convention, most of them brought there by the different candidates.

  3. NancyEHJune 6, 2010 at 3:09 pm

    If s/he is going to use Twitter, each candidate should have a staffer/volunteer to watch the several hashtags and his/her own name for opportunities to answer questions, pose questions and generally “engage” with citizens. So far, I haven’t seen much of that.

  4. Primary day Twitter buzz | JustinRussell.comJune 8, 2010 at 6:31 pm

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