Reaction patterns to PN leadership contenders ‘unlikely to change’ – expert

As the voting for the PN leadership election is well underway, Newsbook.com.mt takes another look at how the social media community reacted to the messages of Dr Adrian Delia and Dr Bernard Grech this week. The winner from next Saturday’s vote count will face the current PM, Dr Robert Abela, at the next general election. Newsbook’s resident expert on this exercise has been Digital marketing lecturer Dr Franco Curmi: “As expected, both PN leadership candidates have been quite active this week posting a total of 80 messages as their election campaigns summit in a ‘get out to vote’ effort”.

Top 10 Posts

Newsbook.com.mt ranked the 91 messages published, to also include those of Dr Robert Abela, based on the number of reactions that each message received. Dr Abela takes the first 2 positions this week with the next 5 places for Dr Grech, 8th for Dr Delia and 9th and 10th for Dr Grech.

New Facebook Page Followers

On the other hand, the newcomer “Dr Grech is still seeing a consistent increase in the number of people opting to follow his social media pages on both Facebook and Instagram at approximately 2.6% growth per week” observed Dr Curmi. Dr Abela has 59,181 public followers on Facebook, Dr Delia 29,510 followers and Dr Grech 22,823 as of Friday 27th.

Reactions to Leading Politicians’ Facebook Messages

The reactions to the PN candidates’ messages have been very consistent throughout the campaign, according to Dr Curmi. Dr Delia seems to have a strong group of people who are ready to share his published messages. On the other hand, Dr Grech’s messages generate 20% more comments and reactions overall.” Typically, such engagement is predominantly determined by how much the messages resonate with the online social community. This effect nudges the social media platform to propagate the messages beyond the followers thus generating further growth” said Dr Curmi.

“As the election comes to a close next Saturday one needs to see to what degree the online crowd behaviour reflects the real voter behaviour” sai Dr Curmi. He added that past research indicated that the two are indicative of each other particularly in Malta where social media usage is high and is widely adopted across all demographics. “Given the consistent patterns, there have been over the last 5 weeks, it is unlikely that these patterns change this week” concluded Dr Curmi.