If microblog site Twitter offers any kind of guide to popularity, Australian prime minister Kevin Rudd has more loyal followers than rival opposition leader Malcolm Turnbull.
The numbers don’t tell the whole story, however. Illustrating how difficult maintaining loyalty has become for both leaders in the wake of the “Kevin 07” elections and the Labor Party cabinet reshuffle, many users of the site who are listed as friends of one leader also support the other.
As of 3pm, December 9, Rudd had 3,091 friends while his opponent Turnbull had 2,111 followers. However, 829 of those following one leader were also following the other.
More than 42% of Turnbull’s 2111 followers were revealed as Rudd supporters, while 27% of the PM’s friends were discovered in the Liberal camp, according to their online Twitter blog sites.
Australian politicians have flocked, albeit a little behind the trend, to online social networking sites like Facebook, Myspace and Twitter, and have posted reams of videos to YouTube in an attempt to embrace senator Stephen Conroy’s “Digital Economy”.
Turnbull set the Twitter trend and opened his account in October this year, followed by the PM last month.
Communications minister Conroy, head of the “Digital Economy”, launched a blog this week, along with the minister for finance and deregulation, Lindsay Tanner, to canvass opinion on Australia’s telecommunications landscape and the migration of private and public industries into electronic media.
The blog, monitored by the Australian Government Information Management Office (AGIMO), is open to public comment for two weeks.
The ministers will post “every couple of days” and will answer questions such as “what does the digital economy encompass?” and “how can we measure the success of Australia’s digital economy?”
The ministers admitted on the blog that they “realise we’re not trail blazers here — we know that there’s nothing new about government’s blogging, and that many jurisdictions have been doing so for some time.”
The head of consulting for analyst firm Intermedium, Kevin Noonan, told ARN blog moderators must be cautious not to censor dissident comments on the site.