It’s barely been 48 hours since the @POTUS handle appeared on Twitter, but it’s already been able to amass quite a following.
@POTUS, short form for President Of The United States, belongs to none other than Barack Obama… for now anyways. The Twitter account came into being on Monday May 18, 2015 and the President sent this as his first tweet:
Hello, Twitter! It’s Barack. Really! Six years in, they’re finally giving me my own account.
— President Obama (@POTUS) May 18, 2015
While the account @BarackObama has been around since Obama’s first run for presidency in 2008, it has mainly been run by the President’s staff, with the odd tweet from the man himself which were marked with a “-bo.” This new account will actually belong to the president and allow him to tweet his presidential views all on his own.
It’s no surprise that when the account surfaced, many people and news organizations flocked to follow and try to interact with the President. Just over 24 hours since the @POTUS account sent it’s first tweet it has managed to amass about 2.2 million followers. At the time of writing this, the actual number of followers is 2,181,335 and still growing. We got curious about just how the account spread like wildfire and managed to attract so much attention in just a short period of time, so we did some analysis using MAP, our social intelligence software.
We started by looking at how the President’s first tweet from the @POTUS account spread using our Tweet Life analysis. This function looks at a random sample of 4,000 retweets of the original tweet in question and shows how it travels through the Twitterverse and shows us who helps to amplify the message. In the case of this tweet though, many users were pointed towards it from the press who were giddy to see the new Presidential account. Many people flocked to follow the new @POTUS account and then retweeted his first ever tweet spreading the news to their own networks. The 4,000 tweets we analyzed played out like this: We only analyze 4,000 retweets to get an accurate sample of how the spread played out, but the tweet actually received over 250,000 retweets. The full amount of retweets likely played out very similarly as news about the account spread. We found that the half-life for this specific tweet, the time it took to get from the original tweet being posted to it’s 2,000th RT, came in only 3 hours and 31 minutes. What this tells us is that the reaction to the President joining Twitter moved swiftly and gained momentum very quickly. Part of the reason that this account gained such momentum was due to the fact that every news organization and popular Twitter account wanted to be one of the firsts to welcome @POTUS to Twitter.
After we analyzed how the President’s first tweet spread we looked at how the communities of influence were interacting over the news using our Influencer Communities tool. It’s very interesting to see how the Twitter communities interacting with the new @POTUS handle became divided. The first community we can see is represented by blue. In this community we can see the actual @POTUS handle and it’s surrounded by other insanely popular Twitter accounts like @BarackObama, @TheEllenShow, @MTVNews and even @MileyCyrus saying hello and welcome to Twitter. The second community, represented in green, is news organizations and news makers, such as @TIME, @NYTimes and even @JimmyFallon who were all making note to their followers that the account now exists. The orange community is more made up of official government and government focused accounts who were tweeting about @POTUS. Finally, and possibly most interestingly, is that the red community seems to be mostly made up of right leaning Twitter accounts, like @JebBush and @FOXNews, who all had a negative tone towards the new @POTUS account. Knowing that this new account has already racked up over 1.8 million Twitter followers, we were curious as to who exactly was following @POTUS, as in the 24 hours since the account came into existence it already managed to earn itself a Sysomos Authority Score of 10/10.
While the Twitter handle belongs to the current leader of the United States, we first noticed that people all over the world are interested in following him. Only 38.3% of the accounts followers identify as being in the United States themselves. The second largest contingent comes from the UK making up 6.6% of @POTUS’s following, followed by Canada at 3.1%.
We also found that more men seem to be interested in what @POTUS has to say than women. 65% of @POTUS’s followers are male while the remaining 35% is females. We then looked at the Sysomos Authority Score of @POTUS’s followers. Because of the wide appeal of following the leader of the free world we found that the majority of accounts that started to follow fell in the range of middle to low authority scores. These are people that use Twitter, but wouldn’t be considered “power users.” These are lickely the people who use Twitter to keep up with celebrities, news and other interests, but may not be very active on the platform themselves. Which would make sense that they would add @POTUS to their lists of accounts to follow. There are still accounts with high Authority following @POTUS, but it seems that the majority of followers fall into the general population.
This is even more evident when we pulled up a word cloud of @POTUS’s follower’s bios. Here we can see that these followers identify with a wide variety of topics and backgrounds. See for yourself: So, it seems that a lot of interest has been generated by this new @POTUS account. Just over 24 hours old and the number of followers waiting to see what Barack Obama has to say continues to grow, even as we write this. And why wouldn’t they be, as you can already see Obama’s humour shining through the account with this little exchange he had with former President Bill Clinton yesterday:
— President Obama (@POTUS) May 18, 2015