The bag of Italian politicians, seen on Instagram

The bag of Italian politicians, seen on Instagram

The bag of Italian politicians

From the re-election of Mattarella to the crisis of the Draghi government, passing through the war in Ukraine. The first six months of 2022 were full of events for Italian and international politics: events that saw our local party leaders as protagonists and that for good and, above all for evil, also influenced their image. That famous "consensus" that previously could be assessed thanks to polls and voting intentions, today cannot fail to take into account the social implications of the story.

It is probably not yet possible to transform the ups and downs of followers into lost or purchased percentage points, but it is clear that a growth or a decrease in the number of followers is a fact to take into consideration, especially with elections in sight . Of course, the engagement, the followers and the likes of the profiles of the various Giuseppe Conte, Matteo Salvini and Luigi Di Maio were not only affected by what happened on this side of the smartphone, but they felt the blow for the choices and the words that the same protagonists adopted in the real world. From an analysis that anyone can do on a completely free site, such as Not Just Analytics, able to analyze the trend of followers of an Instagram profile, it emerges that in this first part of the year almost all political leaders have lost a a good chunk of the consensus they could enjoy up to seven months ago.

The analysis in question deliberately neglects other social networks such as Facebook, Twitter or TikTok, for several reasons. The first is that Instagram is the one with the highest level of interaction compared to the others and which therefore allows you to better perceive the empathy between a profile and its followers. The second is linked to the fact that politicians have become more active over time with posts, stories and direct on Instagram.

Salvini's collapse But let's go to the numbers. Who has lost the most followers on Instagram in the last six months? Matteo Salvini and Giuseppe Conte. The leader of the League and that of the Five Star Movement have been the real protagonists of the political scene in recent years and, not surprisingly, their respective profiles are also the most followed on all platforms. On Facebook they have 5 million and 4.5 million followers respectively while on Twitter they can count on 1.4 million and 1.1 million followers. However, if it is true that a profile with many followers can physiologically run the risk of losing many, it must also be said that the bleeding of followers who are facing the flagship accounts of the former yellow-green government since the beginning of the 2022 to date is important and has had peaks directly linked to political events or public appearances that have caused discussion.

Let's start with the Northern League: today Matteo Salvini, who in the meantime also had to take the blow of the removal of his spin doctor Luca Morisi, can count on the support of 2,197,801 followers on Instagram. As of January 1, 2021, he had 115,400 more, but more than half has lost them in the past six and a half months. At the beginning of 2022, 67,251 profiles removed Salvini's follow-up. It is easy to average with almost ten thousand followers lost every month.

The analysis of Matteo Salvini's followers from January 1st 2022. Credit: Not Just Analytics

As mentioned, however, there have been moments during this year when losses of followers were more consistent and coincide with precise moments. They are represented by the blue downward lines in the last three lines of the top graph. The first negative peak dates back to the last week of January in which the match for the Quirinale was played. On that occasion, Salvini had tried to take on the role of the king maker, but without success. Between one vote and another, his "We are working for a woman" was immediately denied by the step backwards that the leader of the League took shortly after and which in fact then led to the Mattarella-bis. An empty exit that cost dearly to the Instagram profile of the former interior minister: 10,664 followers burned in the week from January 29 to February 5.

Salvini in Poland with the mayor of Przemyl, Wojciech Bakun, who openly contested it during his visit.

STRINGER / Getty Images The other significant negative peak of the graph is linked to the visit to Poland on March 8th. On that occasion, the mayor of Przemyl, Wojciech Bakun, openly contested Salvini, showing him the same t-shirt with Putin's face that the secretary of the Northern League had worn in 2018 during his visit to Moscow to remind him of his closeness to the Russian president . The video quickly traveled around Europe and caused another flight of followers: more than 5 thousand in the days that followed the visit. The latest release of followers came in May, after the Arcore center-right summit: the difficulties in resolving the rift within the coalition, with the Brothers of Italy attacking on many fronts, from the unanswered request for a pact " anti-mess "to exclude any future alliance with Pd and M5s, at the crux of the re-nomination of Nello Musumeci to the Sicily Region.

After the meeting in Berlusconi's villa, almost another 4 thousand followers left the captain in three days, up to 22 May. To stop the epistaxis (perhaps) the Milan championship took care of it: the day after the Rossoneri's championship Salvini brought back almost 2 thousand followers. The broadcasts of him to the mayor of Milan Giuseppe Sala for not granting a large screen for the Milan fans in Milan and the stories of him from the Reggio Emilia stadium while he was celebrating could have brought a small segment of users closer together. Even if the joy did not last long: always on social networks it became a video of protest against Salvini by some Milan fans in the square.

Instagram content This content can also be viewed on the site it originates from.

And that of Conte Parabola very similar to the one crossed by the former prime minister. After reaching the follower peak in the initial days of the 2020 pandemic, thanks to the "round the flag effect" for which the people's advocate embodied the figure around which to huddle in a moment of extreme difficulty, even Conte in 2022 saw an escape a slice of his followers. Compared to January 1st, today just over 70 thousand fans are missing from the profile of the leader of the 5 Star Movement (also here about ten thousand accounts lost every month) which today still has an audience of almost one million and eight.

Giuseppe Conte's follower analysis from January 1st 2022. Credit: Not Just Analytics

Just like Salvini, Conte also paid for Mattarella's re-election days. It was no coincidence that both had discovered the cards in favor of a woman's name like that of Elisabetta Belloni, which was then "burned". The price of this reverse was just over a thousand followers.

And that 2022 was not his year was understood immediately afterwards, on March 27: an apparently positive day for Conte, in which he voted for his re-election to the presidency of the 5 Star Movement . Yet, on that day when the pentastellated voters confirmed their trust, 1,795 followers made a “tap” on the “Unfollow” button on Instagram. And again: on 20 April another mass unfollow arrives. These are the days in which Conte ends up at the center of the controversy after an article in the Republic, which talks about a meeting in a Roman restaurant between the former head of Dis Gennaro Vecchione and the former US secretary of Justice William Barr, involved in the American Russiagate . That dinner, according to many, would be evidence of a political use of intelligence exploited by the former premier to please the former president of the United States, Donald Trump, and favor the formation of the Conte bis, this time in a yellow and red sauce. The case that exploded has evaporated almost 5 thousand followers in 5 days. And then the last few months have further corroded the mountain of followers of the professor, the internal crisis of the 5 Stars that led to Di Maio's removal from the Movement and the government crisis of these days triggered by Conte has had a not negligible impact. with 23,975 followers lost from May 25 to today.

Di Maio falls, Renzi and Letta take small steps The break in the Five Stars, however, has not only affected Conte. Luigi Di Maio was also impressed, at least by analyzing the graph of his followers. If until June the losses had been modest compared to his colleagues on the day of the announcement of his farewell to the Movement, which took place just a month ago, the Foreign Minister (who is followed by 2.5 million people on Facebook while on Twitter does not exceed 800 thousand) lost 2,274 followers in one fell swoop in the first 24 hours and the leakage of followers continued in the following thirty days with a total loss of 15,865 users.

The graph of the decline in Luigi di Maio's followers in the last month. Credit: Not Just Analytics

But not everyone drops. For example, the leader of Italia Viva Matteo Renzi remains stable. After exceeding 250 thousand followers in 2021, his decrease ended just last year. In his 2022 only 1,790 followers were added: the former premier managed to defend the hard core of his followers, collecting a few more users especially in the days when he defended Mattarella's reappointment at the Quirinale and in these days of the crisis of government. Renzi, however, can console himself with Twitter, which crowns him as the most followed Italian politician thanks to 3.3 million users, and with Facebook on which he has a pool of 1.1 million followers. For Enrico Letta of the PD, on the other hand, the increase is minimal: the secretary of the Democratic Party has won just over a thousand followers a month: in any case not bad for one of the profiles that least tries to chase trends, remaining very institutional compared to that of of colleagues.

Meloni and Berlusconi grow up If Instagram really worked like the elections, it could be said that most of Salvini's lost followers this year ended up on Silvio Berlusconi and Giorgia Meloni's profiles. Less impactful than that of the founder of Forza Italia, but certainly more constant is the growth of the leader of Fratelli d'Italia, who is missing about 25,000 followers to reach one million. 2022 brought it 15,588 more users. With an increase of almost 5 thousand at the beginning of the year after his firm opposition to Mattarella's encore. Meloni's Instagram growth seems to follow what she has had on other social networks, where she collects a total of 3.5 million followers between Facebook (2.5 million) and Twitter (almost 1.3 million).

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