OTTAWA - All MPs worked the barbecue circuit this summer, but only some worked the online circuit as well.
During the winter parliamentary sitting, MPs tweeted an average of 2,700 times a week, while in the summer that dropped to about 1,900, according to a new report by Ottawa-based digital public affairs firm Full Duplex.
The drop likely reflects the role Twitter plays for MPs, suggested report author Mark Blevis.
When the House of Commons is sitting, Twitter is a tool MPs use to feel like part of the action and to communicate with constituents or issue-based stakeholders.
But when Parliament is on a break, there's less of a desire to be online, he said.
"I think a lot of MPs probably put their BlackBerrys and iPhones and iPads down for the summer so they can go around and shake hands participate in events in their constituencies," he said.
The report, Peace, Order and Googleable Government, aims to explore whether MPs and the public were talking about the same things online.
STORY CONTINUES BELOW SLIDESHOW
Source: <a href="http://fullduplex.ca/wp-content/uploads/2012/09/Peace-Order-and-Googleable-Government-Sep-2012.pdf">Peace, Order & Googleable Government 2012</a>
10. @BradButtMP - 429 Tweets
9. @JamesMoore_org - 440 Tweets
8. @KirstyDuncanMP - 443 Tweets
7. @WoodworthMP - 501 Tweets
6. @MinRonaAmbrose - 505 Tweets
5. @KenneyJason - 512 Tweets
4. @MarcGarneau - 573 Tweets
3. @ElizabethMay - 862 Tweets
2. @Carolyn_Bennett - 1,276 Tweets
1. @DenisCoderre - 1,682 Tweets
Just as MP Twitter traffic slowed over the summer months, so too did that of ordinary Canadians.
Overall, Canadians marked 500,349 of their tweets as relating to Canadian politics during the political off-season, about half as many as during the longer winter session, the report found.
The issues raised were wide-ranging, as people tagged everything from posts about the Olympics to the Quebec election as part of the national political debate.
Six themes dominated: health, oil-and-gas, science, crime, the environment and the robocall scandal.
For MPs, it was similar. They covered a wide variety of topics including their summer barbecues and community fundraising events.
"It wasn't all social, though," the report found.
There was still a substantial amount of political rhetoric, and language choice was "clearly aligned to party talking points."
The dominant themes in the MPs' tweets were mostly in sync with the public's conversations.
Five of the six most tweeted themes by MPs were the same as those discussed by the public, with one exception.
MPs largely ignored the robocalls scandal, with immigration being a higher profile subject.
Within the themes were a number of different topics. For example, on oil-and-gas, opposition MPs were focused on an oil spill from a pipeline in Wisconsin, while Tory MPs mostly highlighted a helicopter tour of the oilsands.
In crime, most Tory tweeters reacted to the shootings at a Sikh temple in Wisconsin, while NDP MPs were focused on a shooting the night of the Quebec provincial election.
Liberals topped the list of most prolific tweeters, with MPs Denis Coderre and Carolyn Bennett taking the first two spots with 1,682 and 1,276 tweets respectively. Green party MP Elizabeth May came in third.
Five Tory MPs made the top 10 list, including Immigration Minister Jason Kenney, Public Works Minister Rona Ambrose and Heritage Minister James Moore.
Absent was the senior Tory often referred to as the "minister for Twitter," Tony Clement, who tweeted just over 300 times during the summer break compared with 10th place finisher Tory MP Brad Butt at 429 tweets.
No New Democrats cracked the top 10 though one of the party's most frequent tweeters, Charlie Angus, publicly quit using the service during the spring.
But when it came to weighing in on issues most discussed by the public, they were collectively out in full force.
More New Democrat MPs tweeted about science, oil and gas and environment issues than Tories or Liberals.
MPs of all stripes were also more likely to engage in conversation over Twitter than the public.
Twenty-one per cent of MPs' messages were in reply to other people, compared to only nine per cent of public messages.
Related on HuffPost:
Best MPs On Twitter
Here's our totally unscientific look at which Canadian politicians are making the best use of Twitter. (CP)
14. Rona Ambrose
Tory ministers dominated our <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.ca/2012/05/09/worst-mps-twitter-canada_n_1504199.html?ref=canada-politics" target="_hplink">worst MPs on Twitter list</a>, but <a href="https://twitter.com/#!/MinRonaAmbrose" target="_hplink">Rona Ambrose</a> is an exception to the rule. While she could stand to pick up a few more followers, Ambrose is on the right track, heavily peppering her feed with retweets. She also responds to journalists, a sure sign of a strong political account. (CP)
13. Marc Garneau
Besides tweeting at a furious pace, former astronaut and current Liberal MP <a href="https://twitter.com/#!/MarcGarneau" target="_hplink">Marc Garneau</a> can be seen regularly carrying on conversations with other users. Nothing warms our hearts more than to see one of our politicians engaging with Canadians. (CP)
12. Peter Julian
NDP MP <a href="https://twitter.com/#!/mpjulian" target="_hplink">Peter Julian</a> is active, interesting and engaged. Good number of photos as well. (CP)
11. Denis Coderre
With nearly 60,000 followers, <a href="https://twitter.com/#!/DenisCoderre" target="_hplink">Denis Coderre</a> is one of the most popular Canadian MPs on Twitter. He responds to users, retweets news and generally keeps things lively and diverse. And although most of his tweets are in French, he's not afraid of an English post from time to time. (CP)
10. Carolyn Bennett
Liberal MP <a href="https://twitter.com/#!/Carolyn_Bennett" target="_hplink">Carolyn Bennett</a> has more than 7,000 tweets, a sure sign of a Twitter addict. She also has been known to <a href="https://twitter.com/#!/Carolyn_Bennett/media/slideshow?url=http%3A%2F%2Fyfrog.com%2Fnyvsfevj" target="_hplink">tweets photos of her dinner</a>, a sure sign she stays connected at all times. (CP)
9. Olivia Chow
With more than 17,000 followers, Olivia Chow doesn't need our help. But we love her tweets, especially the funny ones. This <a href="https://twitter.com/#!/oliviachow/status/198021722232979457" target="_hplink">Rob Ford zinger stands out</a>: "Dear journalists, the lilac tree in front of my #Toronto house is in bloom, come and take a photo by the fence, I won't call 911." (CP)
8. James Moore
Another Tory minister who bucks his party's Twitter trend is <a href="https://twitter.com/#!/JamesMoore_org" target="_hplink">James Moore</a>. His account shows all the usual signs of engagement, but to be perfectly honest it was the <a href="https://twitter.com/#!/JamesMoore_org/media/grid" target="_hplink">cute photos</a> of his <a href="https://twitter.com/#!/JamesMoore_org/media/slideshow?url=pic.twitter.com%2FrFgZ2LPR" target="_hplink">two dogs</a> that secured his spot on the list. (CP)
7. Megan Leslie
NDP MP <a href="https://twitter.com/#!/meganlesliemp" target="_hplink">Megan Leslie</a> has one of the most active accounts in Parliament. Our favourite tweet in recent months? "Finally found a parking spot in Whitehorse. No need to call Bev Oda's driver. http://yfrog.com/nwtxmtzj" (CP)
6. Peggy Nash
Unlike <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.ca/2012/05/09/worst-mps-twitter-canada_n_1504199.html?ref=canada-politics" target="_hplink">Thomas Mulcair, who has stopped tweeting</a> since the end of the NDP leadership contest, <a href="https://twitter.com/#!/PeggyNashNDP" target="_hplink">Peggy Nash</a> continues to post up a storm. Her appearance on this list also has a lot to do with her <a href="https://twitter.com/#!/PeggyNashNDP/status/197057876865454081" target="_hplink">recent allusion to the cartoon "South Park."</a> (CP)
5. Justin Trudeau
What can you say about <a href="https://twitter.com/#!/JUSTINPJTRUDEAU" target="_hplink">Justin Trudeau</a>? He's the rock star of Canadian politics and his Twitter stats show it. More than 130,000 followers and a verified check mark -- the surest sign of an online celeb. And while <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.ca/2012/03/13/justin-trudeau-blackberry_n_1342509.html" target="_hplink">HuffPost got into a minor tiff with Trudeau over a tweet</a> he sent out earlier this year about his BlackBerry, we're still big fans of the Liberal MP's stream. What other Canadian politician would have the guts to tweet a photo like <a href="http://twitpic.com/3aqlx9" target="_hplink">this</a>. (CP)
4. Jason Kenney
<a href="https://twitter.com/#!/kenneyjason" target="_hplink">Jason Kenney's Twitter stream</a> often resembles a travel journal. The Immigration Minister spends a lot of time travelling the country and it shows in his feed and photos. Something else we've learned from following Kenney? <a href="https://twitter.com/#!/kenneyjason/media/grid" target="_hplink">He loves purple ties</a>. (CP)
3. Tony Clement
Alright, we know we already put <a href="https://twitter.com/#!/tonyclementcpc" target="_hplink">Tony Clement</a> on our <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.ca/2012/05/09/worst-mps-twitter-canada_n_1504199.html?ref=canada-politics" target="_hplink">worst MPs on Twitter list</a>, but we do have a love hate relationship with the Tory minister. While his tweets have grown less interesting since <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.ca/2012/01/10/tony-clement-jackass-twitter_n_1196261.html" target="_hplink">Jackass-Gate</a>, Clement is still miles ahead of most MPs when it comes to using social media. No wonder he's been<a href="http://www.canada.com/news/Tony+Clement+vows+innovative+open+government+critics+point+poor+record/5940420/story.html" target="_hplink"> tasked with leading the Conservatives' Open Government initiative</a> to put more federal info online. (CP)
2. Bob Rae
'Interim' Liberal Leader Bob Rae may not have captured his party's permanent top job yet, but he definitely hold the attention of his Twitter followers. All 26,000 of them. He gets in on <a href="https://twitter.com/#!/bobraeMP/media/slideshow?url=http%3A%2F%2Fyfrog.com%2Fh03w0bmj" target="_hplink">photo meme action</a> and <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.ca/2011/12/14/bob-rae-twitter-bs-young-liberals_n_1149155.html" target="_hplink">isn't afraid to use colourful language</a>. <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.ca/2012/05/09/worst-mps-twitter-canada_n_1504199.html?ref=canada-politics" target="_hplink">Compared to the accounts of fellow leaders Thomas Mulcair and Stephen Harper</a>, an absolute gem. (CP)
1. Elizabeth May
She may be the leader of the smallest party in Parliament, but <a href="https://twitter.com/#!/elizabethmay" target="_hplink">Elizabeth May</a> punches way above her weight online. The Green Party leader has nearly 40,000 followers, roughly triple the count held by <a href="https://twitter.com/#!/thomasmulcair" target="_hplink">Thomas Mulcair</a>. How did she become such a digital success? One word: engagement. May's stream shows consistent interaction with followers and journalists. The leaders of the larger parties could learn a thing or two from this plucky underdog. (CP)
The Worst Politicians On Twitter
Here's our totally unscientific look at which Canadian politicians are failing to take advantage of their presence on Twitter. (CP)
11. Christian Paradis
In more than a year on Twitter, the <a href="https://twitter.com/#!/christianparad" target="_hplink">Minister of Industry Christian Paradis</a> has posted just 35 tweets and no photos. (CP)
10. Peter Kent
The <a href="https://twitter.com/#!/mpPeterKent" target="_hplink">Minister of the Environment Peter Kent</a> last tweeted back in January, despite the flurry of coverage regarding his portfolio in recent months. On the plus side, he has posted plenty of photos, although most are of the MP smiling with constituents variety. (CP)
9. Dean Del Mastro
The parliamentary secretary to the prime minister and <a href="https://twitter.com/#!/DeanDelMastro" target="_hplink"> Minister of Intergovernmental Affairs Dean Del Mastro</a> has a classic ghost-town account: Five tweets back in 2009 and then silence. (CP)
8. Vic Toews
<a href="https://twitter.com/#!/toewsvic" target="_hplink">Minister of Public Safety Vic Toews</a> is actually relatively active on Twitter compared to his cabinet colleagues. Toews makes the list due to his role in promoting the government's online spying legislation, <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.ca/2012/02/16/vic-toews-youtube-vikileaks-twitter_n_1281633.html" target="_hplink">a role which earned the minister heaps of scorn on the social network and sparked the #TellVicEverything and #DontToewsMeBro hashtags</a>. (CP)
7. Peter MacKay
<a href="https://twitter.com/#!/mackaycpc" target="_hplink">Defence Minister Peter MacKay</a> hasn't tweeted anything to his more than 3,000 followers since May of last year. (CP)
6. Charlie Angus
<a href="https://twitter.com/#!/charlieangusmp" target="_hplink">NDP MP Charlie Angus</a> was one of the most active MPs on Twitter. That is until he got sick of all the negativity and <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.ca/charlie-angus/quit-twitter_b_1394617.html" target="_hplink">publicly announced he was leaving the social network</a>. His account is still online, so it's still possible he'll make a comeback. (CP)
5, Nycole Turmel
"Thomas Mulcair just gave an inspirational speech at the Economic Club of Canada luncheon!" This is what you can come to expect from the <a href="https://twitter.com/#!/nycole_turmel" target="_hplink">former interim leader of the NDP Nycole Turmel</a> on Twitter. Her stream is dominated by posts about appearances and press releases. She rarely interacts with other users and seems to be slowing down her usage since the NDP leadership race ended and she was replaced by Thomas Mulcair. (CP)
4. Tony Clement
This is the controversial one. <a href="https://twitter.com/#!/tonyclementcpc" target="_hplink">Treasury Board President Tony Clement</a> is notorious in Ottawa and beyond for his regular use of Twitter. So why does the poster child for Canadian politicians on social networks make the list?<a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.ca/2012/01/10/tony-clement-jackass-twitter_n_1196261.html" target="_hplink"> It goes back to an incident last year in which Clement called a teen a jackass in a tweet after being corrected on a spelling mistake</a>. Clement apologized and ever since his account just hasn't quite been the same. The humour which once made the account one to watch seems to be gone. (CP)
3. Daniel Paillé
The <a href="https://twitter.com/#!/danielpaille" target="_hplink">Leader of the Bloc Québécois Daniel Paillé</a> has sent out just 89 tweets since joining in October of 2011. Despite being a federal leader not one of those 89 has been in English. (CP)
2. Thomas Mulcair
We at HuffPost have regularly been checking <a href="https://twitter.com/#!/thomasmulcair" target="_hplink">NDP Leader Thomas Mulcair's Twitter account</a> in the hope that he'll actually start using it. Since winning the leadership back in March, the account has gone completely silent. Previous to that it was extremely active. What gives? (CP)
1. Stephen Harper
With such a large staff, you would expect the prime minister to be a little more consistent with his use of Twitter. Stephen Harper's account has sent out just 12 tweets so far in 2012, many of them linking to press releases. With nearly 220,000 followers, the PM is missing out on an excellent opportunity to sell himself and the Conservative brand. Harper should take a page out of <a href="https://twitter.com/#!/BARACKOBAMA" target="_hplink">Barack Obama's playbook</a>. At the time of writing, the U.S. president had posted 14 tweets in just the last 24 hours. Obama even signs tweets that come directly from him. Come on Stephen, we don't need the Americans to be better than us at anything else. (CP)