Saturday 6 June 2009

European Parliament elections 2009 (120): Measuring disinterest via hashtags and Wikipedia statistics

One might expect that the super-doper online tool Twitter has been rocking these last days of the European Parliament elections.

But compared to the daily use of Twitter in the US or even during the recent violent protests in Moldova, the number of tweets covering the elections has been very limited, and at no point was there a risk of missing anything interesting due to an information overload.

We are only talking about hundreds or maybe thousands of tweets, most of them from a limited number of Twitter users already known before.

Just for documentary reasons, I have assembled some links (see below) to a number of relevant English language tweets on the EP elections which have appeared under the two main hashtags #ep09 and #eu09 during the last 24 hours. There were more, but from the numbers of those selected (including two from me which created reactions) you can see that the choice was rather low.

None of these hashtags which were used in several languages and no EP-related term has made it under the top 100 Twitter trend terms of the last week (Top 3 globally: "Google Wave", "Susan Boyle", "New Moon"). If you take the huge electorate present on the continent, this is a pretty clear indication for the interest in the elections.

The general online attention on this blog peaked on Thursday when the UK was holding its EP elections and many were looking for candidate lists. You can see this peak of interest very well in the Wikipedia statistics for the English article on the European Parliament elections, reaching around 14,700 visitors on 04 June, compared to some 600 in late February.

Still, taken together, hashtags and Wikipedia statistics before and after Thursday are just another measure for the disinterest in these elections, and the preliminary figures we get for the turnout in those countries which have already voted also support this impression.

Maybe we will see another peak of attention tomorrow evening, maybe Monday morning, but then most will forget the European Parliament for the next 4 years, 11 months and 29 days.

The European elections 2009 will go down in history as the forgotten elections - what about inventing a special hashtag for that...!?

Since July 2008, I have been following up national and European activities on the path to the EP elections under the category "European parliament elections 2009".

For an overview over all articles in this category have a look at the overview article.


Eurocentric said...

Visits on my blog peaked yesterday too; again mostly from the UK.

I keep forgetting the hash needed for trending.