Politicians take a break from Twitter after Weinergate

Posted by Lydia Leavitt

In the wake of Rep. Anthony Weiner’s (D-NY) nudie pic scandal on Twitter, tweeting seems to have dropped significantly amongst lawmakers in America.

Could it be part of the Weinergate fallout or just a standard hiatus induced by the Memorial Day holiday weekend?

According to a study conducted by TweetCongress, lawmakers tweeted 28 percent less the week of May 30th to June 3rd post-Weinergate, compared to the previous week.

This has people wondering whether politicians are wary of a similar embarrassing fate or if it’s a standard drop related to the holiday weekend. 

When rude pictures of Rep. Weiner’s wiener surfaced on Twitter, the politician tried to chalk the incident up to a mean prank, rather than what it really was: a sexting fail.

Later he admitted, "Last Friday night I tweeted a photograph of myself that I intended to send as direct message as part of a joke to a woman in Seattle.”

Unsuprisingly, Weiner has experienced a major backlash for his social sexting snafu.

Apparently, the scandal did not go unnoticed by other politicians who took a break from social networking during the week following the scandal.

On the week of the 30th, there were 2,104 tweets from Republican politicians and 843 from Democrats, compared to the 2,868 from Republicans and 1,182 from Democrats sent the previous week.

Lawmakers also tweeted 50 percent less on Monday, May 30th, which happened to be Memorial Day than the previous Monday.

Although the holiday weekend certainly played some part in the lowered volume of tweets, a more telling statistic is the dramatic decline in tweets on the day after Weiner admitted that it was indeed his sausage on the social sharing site.

On Monday, June 6th, the day Weiner came clean, there were only 120 tweets from Democrats, 30 percent less than the amount of tweets two Mondays before. Republicans sent out 338 tweets, which represented an 18 percent drop from two weeks before.

Politicians have recently discovered the power of social networking and mobile applications, which are slated to be the next big thing in the elections of 2012. But Weinergate 2011 reminds politicians that one wrong tweet can ruin a career just as quickly as the wrong choice in dry cleaners for a stain on a blue dress.

The most interesting statistics will be from next week, two weeks after Weinergate on a non-holiday week. Those Twitter statistics may reveal whether politicians are indeed turned off by the social sites or if they continue to integrate social networking into political strategy. 

(Via The Hill)