They may sit on different sides of the aisle, but UK Members of Parliament share at least one thing in common: they love Twitter.
According to new research, MPs are spending about 1,000 hours a year on Twitter. And to put that into perspective, the House of Commons sat for 540 hours and 13 minutes in the 2009-2010 session.
The Telegraph reports that the number of MPs on Twitter has more than doubled, going from 111 in January last year to 275 today. Some of the most active politicians on Twitter include Nick Clegg, the Deputy Prime Minister and Ed Miliband, the Labour leader.
The research was conducted by a political lobbying firm, westminsterpa.com, which examined all of the Twitter accounts from all members of Parliament.
They determined that all tweeting politicians fell into two camps: the “lurkers” and the “obsessives”. Lurkers posted rarely, while obsessives posted up to 17 times in a single day.
To determine how long MPs spent on Twitter in total, the researchers calculated that the 2,500 tweets in a single week that MPs sent while parliament was sitting in June was equivalent to roughly 118,000 tweets in a year. They then assumed that each tweet took about 30 seconds to compose, and arrived at the roughly 1,000 hour number.
Olly Kendall, director of westminsterpa.com, said that Twitter allowed MPs to “reveal a more personal side to their followers,” rather than forcing them to “parrot political messages” or “spend hours writing press releases or blogs” to get their message out.