Monday, November 24th, 2014

The Truth-O-Meter follows Texas politicos on Twitter

A photo of a dog swimming in Lady Bird Lake that Perry posted on Twitter
A photo of a dog swimming in Lady Bird Lake that Perry posted on Twitter

Twitter-haters lament that the popular networking tool that limits users to 140-character posts amounts to a bunch of people tweeting about what they ate for lunch.

They must not be following U.S. Sen. John Cornyn, R-Texas.

An August study from L2, a "think tank for digital innovation" led by two professors at George Washington University and the New York University Stern School of Business, concluded that Republicans in the U.S. Senate have more superior social media skills than their Democratic counterparts. (The study doesn't say how many senators do their own tweeting or have their staff navigate online social networks.)

L2 cited several factors in measuring "digital IQs," including the number of videos each senator was uploading onto YouTube and the number of Twitter followers he or she had piled up. Cornyn ranked fourth with a digital IQ of 143, placing him in the "genius" class, the study says. Hutchison ranked 40th, with an "average" IQ of 103.

On the other hand, on Oct. 4, the Texas Democratic Trust released a report called "Facebook and the Texas Governor's Race: How Bill White is Winning The Social Media Race." Phillip Martin, the group's communications specialist, told us that by looking at how many people "like" each gubernatorial candidates' Facebook page and comment on each post, the group determined that White's "level of engagement" is greater than Perry's.

The report said White had about 92,000 more Facebook fans than Perry. When we checked the candidate's pages Oct. 13, White had 141,935 fans and Perry had 45,500. So White had 96,435 more fans than Perry. (Full disclosure: we had 1,090 fans as of the same date.)

The trust's report also found that Perry has a "clear advantage in the number of Twitter followers he has (23,319) compared to Bill White (4,489).

So how did we get to this overview? We've just published our check of White's statement that Perry begged off an El Paso forum citing scheduling conflicts and then tweeted that he spent part of the forum day running around Austin's Lady Bird Lake.

More generally, Republicans this year have tweeted the most statements that we've found checkable. We're compiling examples for a later story.

And as always, we'd like to hear about statements that you think we should consider running through the Tweet-O-Meter, uh, Truth-O-Meter.

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