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Social media engagement of most followed U.S. Congress members 2020

From January 2019 to May 2020, the ten percent most followed members of the 116th Congress accounted for 17 percent of the 1 million total tweets and 15 percent of the 467,000 total Facebook posts by U.S. Congress members. Additionally, the most followed Congress members on social media generated 84 percent of total Twitter favorites on U.S. Congress member tweets.

Share of social media engagement generated by top 10 percent of most followed members of the 116th U.S. Congress from January 2019 to May 2020

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Source

Release date

July 2020

Region

United States

Survey time period

January 1, 2015 to May 31, 2020

Number of respondents

2,750 respondents

Supplementary notes

The source collected every Facebook post and tweet created by every official and unofficial account maintained by every voting member of the U.S. Senate and House of Representatives between Jan. 1, 2015, and May 31, 2020. The resulting dataset contains nearly 1.5 million Facebook posts from 1,388 congressional Facebook accounts and over 3.3 million tweets from 1,362 congressional Twitter accounts.
In most cases this report characterizes social media activity by members of Congress in terms of averages and totals based on the median representative. When examining a particular party or timeframe, researchers first compute the relevant statistic for each member – such as their total number of posts or their average reactions and shares per post – and then select the representative in the middle (the 50th percentile).
When viewed as a simple total or average, many social media metrics (such as posting volume or audience engagement statistics) can be skewed by a small number of particularly prolific or popular users in a way that obscures the day-to-day reality of the majority. Therefore, the median serves as a useful baseline for measuring the behavior of the “typical” member of Congress and tracking widespread trends across Congress as a whole. As such, the words “median” and “typical” lawmaker are used interchangeably throughout the report.

Total 1 million tweets, 1.1 billion favorites, and 274 million retweets. Total 467,000 Facebook posts, 275 million reactions, and 61 million shares.

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