Screen Shot 2013-01-08 at 11.55.08Following my post about European Commissioners on Twitter, and suggestions to get Danish Prime Minister Helle Thorning-Schmidt onto the network, I thought I would next do a brief study of how members of the Danish Parliament (Folketing, with MF standing for a member of the Folketing) are doing on Twitter. This post sums up what I found. The study is rather long, so is broken up into sections. Comments are most welcome, in English or Danish (jump to comments section).

1. Finding the MFs
2. Elimination of small and inactive accounts
3. Results table
4. Insights – individuals
5. Insights – parties
6. Suggestions for improvement
7. More than 100 tweets, but not active in the last 30 days
8. More than 100 tweets, but all tweets are automated from Facebook
9. Accounts with less than 100 tweets
10. MFs NOT on Twitter


1. Finding the MFs
I took a three step approach to finding members of the Folketing on Twitter. Starting with list of MFs from the Folketing website on 7.1.12 (including 3 substitute members, making the total 182), I first used to search for the name of the MF’s name and ‘Twitter’. If this revealed no name I then searched Twitter using the ‘Suggest People’ function. And as a final check I scanned Danish Twitter users’ lists to ensure no MF was missed. The 85 MFs I found on Twitter are now on this Twitter list of my own. The 97 not on Twitter are listed at the end of this post.


2. Elimination of small and inactive accounts
The threshold to include an account in the study was that the account has written at least 100 tweets. Less than this and it is impossible to gauge how an account will develop. This eliminated a further 38 MFs, all listed below. A further 5 accounts were eliminated because no tweets had been produced in the last 30 days, and 4 more accounts are feeds of news from Facebook only and were also removed. This leaves a total of 38 active MFs on Twitter.


3. Results table
The table below lists the 38 active MFs on Twitter, organised by number of followers. * denotes a Minister. The three columns at the right end are the interesting ones – the Klout score (out of 100) is an automated measure of online influence, based on interactions between users on Twitter, and these users’ respective influence. Reply of RT (out of 10) is my subjective view on how likely a user is to engage with others by replying or RTing. Pol(itical) insight (out of 10) is my subjective view on what can be learned from the tweets – think @carlbildt as the standard for a score of 10.

Name Username Tweets Follows Following Klout Reply
or RT
Margrethe Vestager* @vestager 2866 94 28603 81 9 6
Ida Auken* @IdaAuken 2073 815 8306 51 7 5
Manu Sareen* @manusareen 1093 165 4254 47 5 5
Morten Østergaard* @oestergaard 881 142 4139 55 7 6
Søren Pind @sorenpind 440 117 3415 48 5 7
Kristian Jensen @Kristian_Jensen 1257 307 2701 51 6 6
Simon Emil Ammitzbøll @SimonEmilAmmitz 201 413 2518 45 3 4
Sofie Carsten Nielsen @sofiecn 2160 447 2090 51 9 5
Ellen Trane Nørby @EllenTraneNorby 397 279 1964 52 7 5
Stine Brix @smbrix 2553 328 1777 57 9 5
Christian Friis Bach* @christianfbach 389 128 1777 50 2 4
Magnus Heunicke @Heunicke 903 428 1706 50 7 5
Pernille Skipper @PSkipperEL 1043 188 1607 55 9 5
Zenia Stampe @zeniastampe 330 24 1260 46 0 3
Michael Aastrup Jensen @michaelaastrup 889 944 1247 49 3 6
Jeppe Mikkelsen @JeppeMikkelsen 2113 469 1145 47 8 5
Benedikte Kiær @benediktekiaer 758 111 1131 46 7 4
Rasmus Prehn @RasmusPrehn 465 247 1113 46 8 4
Sophie Løhde @sophieloehde 311 66 1039 38 3 3
Benny Engelbrecht @BennyEngelbrech 1814 1296 937 41 9 5
Jonas Dahl @jonasdahl 560 144 908 44 2 4
Karsten Lauritzen @StemLAURITZEN 281 84 891 45 3 5
Linda Kristiansen @LKristiansen 1549 1557 822 42 6 4
Camilla Hersom @CamillaHersom 256 93 759 42 1 4
Liv Holm Andersen @LivHA 2021 138 754 46 8 5
Lotte Rod @LotteRod 482 95 751 46 3 3
Martin Geertsen @Martin_Geertsen 225 168 619 40 1 4
Mads Rørvig @MadsRorvig 428 68 570 46 5 3
Simon Kollerup @simonkollerup 379 927 480 43 7 3
Lone Loklindt @LoneLoklindt 432 152 449 43 4 3
Rosa Lund @RosaLundEl 287 98 440 45 5 6
Andreas Steenberg @a_steenberg 108 158 423 41 0 4
Marlene Borst Hansen @marleneBL 172 341 408 59 3 3
Rasmus Horn Langhoff @rasmushorn 388 454 336 45 6 6
Nikolaj Villumsen @nvillumsen 259 131 314 n/a 7 4
Esben Lunde Larsen @lundelarsen 135 36 233 40 0 2
Liselott Blixt @Blixt22 221 80 201 43 3 5
Jane Heitmann @JaneHeitmann 268 1 35 24 0 2


4. Insights – individuals
Screen Shot 2013-01-08 at 12.55.45The undoubted leader of the pack is @Vestager. With more than twice as many followers as the second-ranked politician, and with a friendly, interactive style and plenty of photos, there is a lot other Danish politicians could learn from her.

Next come the communicative ministers@IdaAuken, @ManuSareen and @Oestergaard. Particularly Auken and Østergaard are ready to reply to questions posed on Twitter, but none of the three have really developed their own style. Development Minister Friis Bach @christianfbach remains well behind the others, not really engaging on Twitter yet.

The conversationalists are regular MFs who reach out and discuss politics and plenty of other things besides. Here the leading character is Stine Brix (@smbrix), followed by Sofie Carsten Nielsen (@sofiecn), Pernille Skipper (@PSkipperEL), Benny Engelbrecht (@BennyEngelbrech), Magnus Heunicke (@Heunicke) and Jeppe Mikkelsen (@JeppeMikkelsen). All of these accounts allow a Twitter user to relate to the politician as a person, and replies and RTs are likely from these accounts.

The opposition ranks are led by Ellen Trane Nørby (@EllenTraneNorby) and Søren Pind (@sorenpind), both of whose tweets can have an edge to them, but with rather few tweets so far it is unclear how these accounts will develop. Among the smaller accounts, Rosa Lund (@RosaLundEl) and Rasmus Horn Langhoff (@rasmushorn) have had some reasonable, while Simon Kollerup (@simonkollerup) and Nikolaj Villumsen (@nvillumsen) could develop into conversationalists.


5. Insights – parties
radikale-venstre-bannerRadikale Venstre, led by Vestager, beats all other parties hands down – almost all the party’s MFs are present on Twitter, and 4 of the other top accounts also come from that party. All other parties are a long way behind. The two large parties – Socialdemokraterne and Venstre – are largely absent from Twitter, with the @larsloekke account being dormant a rather surprising choice by Venstre’s communications team. None of the Socialdemokraterne’s leading figures (including the Prime Minister) are in any way active on Twitter. Meanwhile among the other parties Enhedslisten is a fraction ahead of the rest with Brix and Skipper, SF really has only Auken, and Liberal Alliance, Dansk Folkeparti and Konservative have a sprinkling of MFs.


6. Suggestions for improvement
No Danish politicians, not even Vestager, get close to the gold standard of European politicians on Twitter set by the likes of @carlbilbt, @alexstubb, @NeelieKroesEU and @jensstoltenberg. Vestager, with 2866 tweets the most active MF at the time of writing, is almost 2000 short of Stubb’s total. Content builds engagement, and engagement builds a following on the network – too few Danish politicians have understood that.

Among the ranks of the normal MFs, too many accounts are poorly designed (poor pictures, no cover or background image), and a number do not even have biographies or web URLs. Not everyone can name all MFs, so the starting point to gain a following is to make a clear statement of who you are and what you do. Further, only 2 MFs follow more than 1000 people, and many follow less than 100. Twitter is a two-way network, it is about learning from and conversing with others, and far too few MFs seem to be in listening mode. This could be a question of technology, and a lack of understanding of Twitter lists.

Critics may say that all of this is inevitable in Denmark, where Twitter remains under developed and the Danish language Twittersphere is small. But conversely how better as an up-and-coming politician to develop a role and a reputation using Twitter? Danish journalists, academics and bloggers are increasingly taking to Twitter – what are aspiring MFs waiting for?


7. More than 100 tweets, but not active in the last 30 days
Mette Reissmann (@mettereissmann) Tweets: 264, Follows: 169, Followers: 451 (Last tweet: 13.6.12)
Lisbeth Bech Poulsen (@LisbethBech) Tweets: 276, Follows: 55, Followers: 457 (Last tweet: 8.11.12)
Lars Løkke Rasmussen (@larsloekke) Tweets: 350, Follows: 1211, Followers: 18718 (Last tweet: 26.9.11)
Uffe Elbæk (@uffeelbaek) Tweets: 352, Follows: 1, Followers: 2336 (Last tweet: 13.9.11)
Lykke Friis (@lykkefriis) Tweets: 569, Follows: 0, Followers: 1428 (Last tweet: 18.8.11)


8. More than 100 tweets, but all tweets are automated from Facebook
Villy Søvndal (@villysoevndal) Tweets: 132, Follows: 0, Followers: 2981
Astrid Krag (@Astridkrag) Tweets: 145, Follows: 1, Followers: 819
Pia Olsen Dyhr (@PiaOlsen) Tweets: 311, Follows: 0, Followers: 972
Mogens Lykketoft (@lykketoft) Tweets: 349, Follows: 0, Followers: 658


9. Accounts with less than 100 tweets
Ane Halsboe-Larsen (@AneHalsboe) Tweets: 0, Follows: 64, Followers: 78
Louise Schack Elholm (@LouiseElholm) Tweets: 0, Follows: 15, Followers: 55
Birgitte Josefsen (@stemjosefsen) Tweets: 0, Follows: 0, Followers: 38
Inger Støjberg (@Stoejberg) Tweets: 0, Follows: 0, Followers: 46
Villum Christensen (@VillumC) Tweets: 1, Follows: 40, Followers: 382
Jakob Ellemann-Jensen (@JakobEllemann) Tweets: 3, Follows: 2, Followers: 37
Karina Adsbøl (@Karinameldgaard) Tweets: 3, Follows: 1, Followers: 36
Morten Marinus (@MortenMarinus) Tweets: 3, Follows: 144, Followers: 89
Thomas Danielsen (@ThDanielsen) Tweets: 3, Follows: 2, Followers: 29
Anders Samuelsen (@anderssamuelsen) Tweets: 4, Follows: 25, Followers: 3851
Hans Christian Schmidt (@hanschr_schmidt) Tweets: 6, Follows: 5, Followers: 379
Pernille Vigsø Bagge (@PernilleVB) Tweets: 6, Follows: 0, Followers: 147
Henrik Sass Larsen (@SassLarsen) Tweets: 6, Follows: 33, Followers: 423 <- could be fake (see below)
Karina Lorentzen Dehnhardt (@MF_K_Lorentzen) Tweets: 8, Follows: 3, Followers: 91
Jacob Bjerregaard (@JaBjerregaard) Tweets: 9, Follows: 226, Followers: 127
Hans Andersen (@HansAndersenV) Tweets: 10, Follows: 26, Followers: 31
Mike Legarth (@mikelegarth) Tweets: 15, Follows: 130, Followers: 315
Pia Adelsteen (@PAdelsteen) Tweets: 18, Follows: 98, Followers: 61
Jacob Jensen (@jacobjensenMF) Tweets: 20, Follows: 2, Followers: 318
Mette Gjerskov (@MetteGjerskov) Tweets: 27, Follows: 3, Followers: 524
Trine Bramsen (@Trinebramsen) Tweets: 27, Follows: 18, Followers: 289
Jan E. Jørgensen (@JanEJoergensen) Tweets: 28, Follows: 34, Followers: 171
Jeppe Kofod (@JeppeKofod) Tweets: 30, Follows: 121, Followers: 987
Karin Gaardsted (@KarinGaardsted) Tweets: 30, Follows: 9, Followers: 57
Jens Joel (@Jens_Joel) Tweets: 32, Follows: 44, Followers: 377
John Dyrby Paulsen (@JohnDyrbyPaulse) Tweets: 34, Follows: 32, Followers: 447
Dennis Flydtkjær (@flydtkjaer) Tweets: 37, Follows: 123, Followers: 177
Nadeem Farooq (@nadeemfa) Tweets: 38, Follows: 97, Followers: 666
Pernille Boye Koch Stedfortræder (@pernillebk) Tweets: 41, Follows: 38, Followers: 91
Thomas Jensen (@MFThomasJensen) Tweets: 43, Follows: 246, Followers: 302
Sophie Hæstorp Andersen (@SophieHAndersen) Tweets: 54, Follows: 129, Followers: 992
Kirsten Brosbøl (@Kirstenbrosbol) Tweets: 55, Follows: 17, Followers: 478
Brian Mikkelsen (@BrianListeC) Tweets: 67, Follows: 465, Followers: 1130
Per Clausen (@PerClausen3) Tweets: 68, Follows: 134, Followers: 429
Mette Bock (@mettebock) Tweets: 76, Follows: 3, Followers: 91
Torsten Schack Pedersen (@Torstenschack) Tweets: 78, Follows: 17, Followers: 421
Fatma Øktem (@fatmaoektem) Tweets: 79, Follows: 53, Followers: 252
Pernille Rosenkrantz-Theil (@RosenkrantzT) Tweets: 88, Follows: 137, Followers: 928


10. MFs NOT on Twitter
Alex Ahrendtsen, Anne Baastrup, Anne-Mette Winther Christiansen, Annette Lind, Annette Vilhelmsen , Anni Matthiesen, Bent Bøgsted, Bertel Haarder, Birthe Rønn Hornbech , Bjarne Corydon, Bjarne Laustsen, Carsten Hansen, Christian Juhl, Christian Langballe, Christine Antorini, Claus Hjort Frederiksen, Daniel Toft Jakobsen Stedfortræder, Doris Jakobsen Siumut, Edmund Joensen Sambandsflokkurin, Eigil Andersen, Erling Bonnesen, Eva Kjer Hansen, Eyvind Vesselbo, Finn Sørensen, Flemming Damgaard Larsen, Flemming Møller Mortensen, Frank Aaen, Gitte Lillelund Bech, Hans Christian Thoning, Hans Kristian Skibby, Helle Thorning-Schmidt, Henning Hyllested, Henrik Dam Kristensen, Henrik Høegh, Holger K. Nielsen , Jan Johansen, Jens Henrik Thulesen Dahl, Jesper Petersen, Joachim B. Olsen, Johanne Schmidt-Nielsen, Jørgen Arbo-Bæhr, Jørn Dohrmann, Julie Skovsby, Karen Ellemann, Karen Hækkerup, Karen J. Klint, Karen Jespersen, Karin Nødgaard, Karsten Nonbo, Kim Andersen, Kim Christiansen, Kristian Pihl Lorentzen, Kristian Thulesen Dahl, Lars Barfoed, Lars Christian Lilleholt, Lars Dohn, Leif Lahn Jensen, Leif Mikkelsen, Lene Espersen, Lennart Damsbo-Andersen, Mai Henriksen, Maja Panduro, Marianne Jelved , Marie Krarup, Martin Henriksen, Merete Riisager, Mette Frederiksen, Mette Hjermind Dencker, Mikkel Dencker, Mogens Jensen, Morten Bødskov, Nick Hækkerup, Nicolai Wammen, Ole Birk Olesen, Ole Hækkerup, Ole Sohn, Orla Hav, Özlem Sara Cekic, Per Stig Møller, Peter Christensen, Peter Juel Jensen , Peter Skaarup, Pia Kjærsgaard, Preben Bang Henriksen, Rasmus Helveg Petersen, René Christensen, Sara Olsvig Inuit Ataqatigiit, Sjúrður Skaale Javnaðarflokkurin, Søren Espersen, Steen Gade, Thyra Frank, Tina Nedergaard, Tom Behnke, Torben Hansen, Troels Lund Poulsen, Troels Ravn, Ulla Tørnæs.

Second Photo: “Margrethe Vestager” by Radikale Venstre on May 12, 2010 via Flickr, Creative Commons Attribution

NOTE: a first draft of this post incorrectly stated Stine Brix was a member of SF. She is in Enhedslisten. This has been corrected. Thanks @leoparddrengen for pointing this out! In return he asks me to point out his guide to Twitter in Danish. Fair deal I reckon!


  1. Facebook is by far the most important and widespread social media in Denmark. The penetration is in the upper nineties of all internet users in general. No other social network service is close to that penetration and it has been quite a puzzle. One school of thought attributes this to the previous slow expansion of mobile communications and poor mobile broadband in Denmark compared to other countries like Holland or Sweden. In those countries, other social network services like Twitter and Google+ are used with much more frequency. And even now, when mobile broadband is developing rapidly, people have already made Facebook their primary mobile social network with more than 2 million users in Denmark.

    Regarding the discussions on Facebook, they are often very vibrant indeed. The tension may differ depending on which politician you study, but it is often regardless of the number of followers or party affiliation. Sometime the issues are from the general list of political topics, sometimes they regard process and personal issues, and often they have local perspective.

    An interesting discussion has been made about the diminishing party memberships versus the mediatization of politics in Denmark. Some suggest that the development is a reflection of the increased professionalization of the party officials and the diffusion of political agendas through various media outlets in Denmark. It seems that the increased use of social media it becomes possible to connect to even better with the local constituents without the old large local party machines.

    There are several studies of the usage of Facebook in Denmark, but not nearly enough. have made several, some of them are available at, and I have made some too, sorry for tooting my own horn, available e .g. at

    As for Twitter, it is by many (politicians) regarded as not elitist, but to some extend pointless since the interaction with the voters is already in play on Facebook. Some of the politicians use Twitter for surfacing ideas and proposals, others as a strategic tool for communicating with the press. And quite a few may have an account but never or rarely use it.

    There is movement, however slowly, for members of Folketinget towards embracing it. In 2010, 34 members of Folketinget used Twitter. In 2012, it had risen to 89.

    A good example is Dansk Folkeparti, where zero members used Twitter in 2010 compared to 6 in 2012. It seems that the members were inspired by Morten Messerschmidt, @MrMesserschmidt, using Twitter to discus danish politics – and the European Union – from Bruxelles.

    As you suggested in your original post, we still have a long way to go. One of the core problems is a lack of understanding of the possibilities other types of social media have to offer. For now, there is no apparent reason for being on Twitter.

  2. AnneCbxl

    No, you probably have a point there. But most people will follow a newspaper or a radio show and perhaps also a politician and a political party if they are very interested.

    The problem is making the topics and issues tangible, because people do have lots of opinions. Somehow the P3 radio station manages to have lots of discussion on their facebook pages. Before then they were quick to introduce interactivity via SMS, so the listeners are used to being an integral part of the discussion.

  3. AnneCbxl

    I see where you want to go, but I doubt the development in DK will go very fast. Since it is Margrethe Vestager leading up the field it probably also means that the “creative class” are the only ones to really embrace twitter. Meaning that it is somewhat elitist.

    More or less everybody in Denmark is on Facebook meaning that this is where the audience is. But if Barroso can do it, why not Helle?

  4. @Anne – yes, this perception that Twitter is elitist won’t go away soon in Denmark due to the order that people seem to have joined – journalists seem to have taken to it before ‘normal’ people have, so it could end up being even more of an echo chamber than it has become in the UK. But conversely look at Netherlands that has an excellent social media environment across lots of channels. That’s the level to aspire to.

    As for Facebook – yes, lots of people might be on it, but are the tools actually good for political debate? Because the average number of pages someone likes is 9.8 – i.e. meaning no-one is going to be debating all the MFs there. I wonder whether, when looking behind the numbers, how vibrant it actually will be?

  5. @Anne – you’re not the first person to suggest that, but no. Part of the aim of this blog post was to encourage more debate on Twitter. While I still have a profile on Facebook I am no fan of the site or its business practices, hence I am not keen to drive even more political discussion there. Plus it would take so damned long to do such research that I am not going to do it unless someone would pay me to do so!

  6. AnneCbxl

    You should do a Facebook analysis as well Jon. I think you will see a lot more political debate there in Denmark.

  7. @Steve – that relationship is definitely weaker in Denmark, so you’re right to say that partly influences things. And it might also explain some of the activity on Twitter in Enhedslisten that are the closest MFs to their activists.

    I don’t reject the personal stuff – indeed far from it. But conversely an account from a politician that only has that would also be a bit off.

    There is something rather retro about the whole comms environment in DK politics – low Twitter use is just one aspect of it.

  8. A useful analysis. A thought/question: how much contact is there normally between a Danish MP and their constituents? Weekly surgeries? Do MPs spend a fair amount of the weekend at local events? Do MPs act as a local fixer for constituents against local government/welfare departments poor administration etc or on local planning issues? UK MPs for example as you know are often more social workers than legislators so being active on twitter is an obvious avenue. Personal tweets are also effective . I don’t dismiss them as quickly as you do.
    I find in countries where a party list system is used there is not the same voter/representative personal relationship. For the parliamentarian keeping in with the powers in the party is more important. But overall I’m still surprised at the lack of Danish MP tweeting.

  9. Kristian

    Hi Jon, an interesting analysis. There are also a couple of members of the European Parliament on Twitter. Both @Dan_joergensen and @MrMesserschmidt use Twitter as a way of communicate. I also believe that Morten Løkkegaard and Jens Rohde is there somewhere 🙂 Thanks for the post.

  10. @Kristian – Thanks for the comment. Yes, I’m aware of those, and Bendt Bendtsen starting off as well. But for the study I had to draw the line somewhere, and limiting it to the Folketing was one of those limits. Sometime close to the EP elections 2014 I will have a go at an equivalent study of MEPs, possibly also from other countries.

  11. henrik lassen

    Fascinating stuff – but I am a little worried about the element of time in all of this. If politicians spend all their waking hours tweeting the world more or less at random, when are they going to find the time to concentrate on their work? I would probably rather vote for somebody who spent more time time concentrating on the job at hand than on keeping the tweet-o-sphere updated every waking second. But maybe that’s just me….

  12. @henrik – it depends how its done. The advantage of Twitter (as opposed to blogging, Facebook) is that each tweet is so short it’s easy to find time for that alongside everything else. Further, we do not question the time politicians spend talking to journalists, and if Twitter gives them a more direct way to communicate with people, then why not? What’s your definition of “concentrating on the job”? And would you vote for them if you did not know what they had done?

  13. AnneCbxl

    Thanks for this Jon, and @Leoparddrengen whom I will be following from now on!

  14. @Troels – I got asked about this on Twitter, and indeed in the post about European Commissioners. First of all it’s worth saying that it’s extremely subjective – it’s how I interpret things. I cannot give you a list of set criteria. But genuine political content – either being tough with a critique of an opponent, or going into depth in a discussion of a political point, scores highly. Just tweeting out the party line, or bland headlines, does not. Equally just tweeting about personal stuff is also no good.

    The challenge then comes with accounts – like @vestager – that mix a bit of all of these. If there is good political content in there somewhere, this will tend to trump the other aspects.

    Twitter overall in Denmark has some way to go, but even taking that as a given I think the political environment has a lot of room for improvement, even within the relatively under-developed Danish Twitter environment. It’s not as if the Norwegian or Finnish twitterspheres are full of life either, but there are a few more stand-out politicians there at least.

    Re. Sass Larsen – thanks! I’ll add a note next to him (although as that account had tweeted so little I didn’t analyse it anyway).

  15. Thank you for an interesting analysis.

    I have a question regarding your Pol score, since it isn’t very clear as to how you calculate its value. If possible, could you please share the logic behind this score?

    Furthermore, your headline reads Danish politics has a long way to go. Do you conclude that because the number of politicians using Twitter is limited – or how they use it – or is it because Twitter usage in Denmark is limited? Or maybe both?

    BTW, Henrik Sass Larsen’s account, ‏@SassLarsen, is supposedly a fake account.

    Best regards
    Troels Runge

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