Many people believe that Democrats are the more tech-savvy party in the U.S., but Twitter-happy Republicans in Congress are turning that theory on its head.
Republicans in Congress use Twitter "more effectively" than Democrats, according to a recent study from Edelman. Tweeting members of the Grand Old Party not only saw more retweets, engagement and amplification than their Democratic brethren, but their tweets were also more substantive -- Republicans were 3.5 times as likely to mention specific legislation and they included 52% more links and almost 60% more multimedia than Democrats in their tweets.
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Edelman's deep dive into Congressional tweeting habits went even further in an effort to determine the "best practices" for tweeting Senators and Representatives. The study highlighted Senate Republicans, who got the most mentions and had the highest "influence" among Congress, according to its analysis.
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The study also looked at the timing of Congressional tweets. When are Congress' thumbs firing away? Usually when members aren't in the building, but they don't have a problem tweeting away while in session, either. However, few tweets are sent immediately before or after a vote. It also found that members who tweeted in the morning and later in the week were most likely to be mentioned by others.
There's also a great deal of across-the-aisle tweeting happening in Congress: about 49% of Twitter handles in the House and Senate reached across the "virtual aisle" by mentioning the handles of counterparts in the opposite party -- and those aren't all political jabs sent over the Twittersphere, either. 51% of those tweets were "collaborative" in nature.
Regionally, members from the western part of the U.S. saw the fastest follower growth and received the most mentions. Congressional tweeters from the Midwest received the most replies, while those in the Northeast got the most retweets and amplification.
What can Congressional tweeters do to improve their tweets? Edelman composed a list of the "Yeas and Nays of the Congressional Twitterverse:"
1. Tweet regularly 2. Tweet links to relevant and compelling content 3. Use hashtags 4. Tweet about specific legislation 5. Retweet other users 6. Be strategic with replies 7. Tweet early in the day 8. Tweet during the latter half of the work week 9. Don't be afraid to tweet over the weekend 10. Tweet while in session
Edelman complied a list of 456 Congressional Twitter handles for use in the study. That was made up of 89 Senators and 367 Representatives, of which 194 were Democrats, 260 were Republicans and two were Independents. Analysis was done by Simply Measured from Sept. 2, 2011 through Dec. 25, 2011.
Do any of the study's results surprise you? What do you think of Edelman's advice for Twitter users in Congress? Let us know in the comments below.
This story originally published on Mashable here.