Jan 13, 2019

1 big thing: Ocasio-Cortez is the latest Twitter powerhouse

Note: Kamala Harris tweets under both a private and a Senate account. Her total is combined; Data: CrowdTangle; Chart: Chris Canipe/Axios

A freshman congresswoman who has held office for less than two weeks is dominating the Democratic conversation on Twitter, generating more interactions — retweets plus likes — than the five most prolific news organizations combined over the last 30 days.

The big picture: Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez is miles behind President Trump in the influence of her Twitter account. But he's the president — she's a new member of Congress who shot out of a cannon following the midterm elections. And she has far more power on Twitter than the most prominent Democrats, including the congressional leaders and the likely 2020 presidential candidates.

The main takeaways:

  • Among 2020 Democratic hopefuls, Sen. Kamala Harris (combining her Senate and personal accounts) had the highest Twitter engagement at 4.6 million interactions over the last 30 days — but that's still way behind Ocasio-Cortez.
  • Even former President Barack Obama was far behind Ocasio-Cortez, at 4.4 million interactions (but she's a lot more active on Twitter).
  • Other notable Democrats:
    • Bernie Sanders: 2.6m (combined Senate and personal account)
    • Nancy Pelosi: 2.6m
    • Chuck Schumer: 2.4m
    • Beto O'Rourke: 1.8m
    • Elizabeth Warren: 1.4m (combined Senate and personal account)
  • News organizations' metrics do not include numbers from their star journalists. CNN's Jim Acosta generated 2 million interactions, compared to the network's 3 million.
  • On the right, individual personalities out-index partisan news organizations. The biggest conservative megaphones — aside from the president — are Charlie Kirk (7.3 million interactions) and Donald Trump Jr., whose 1.86 million interactions eclipsed his nemesis, the New York Times' 1.84 by a hair.
  • The volume of tweets is an important variable to consider:
    • Trump: 9.1 tweets per day
    • Ocasio-Cortez: 5.8
    • Harris: 9.7
    • Obama: 0.4
    • CNN: 136

Two notes about the data: Not listed is Fox News, which has boycotted Twitter since November. These numbers do not account for Twitter activity from bots.

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