Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Youth Defence: Who Follows The Followers?

If you're Irish you've heard of Youth Defence. Possibly from the media. More likely, here in a country where abortion is illegal, you've seen them waiving pictures of aborted fetuses.

If you're not Irish you will not have had this dubious pleasure.

They paint themselves as the voice of the majority in Ireland. I greet this with a raised eyebrow; their commitment to the truth has not seemed unbreakable of late. They launched a factually inaccurate advertising campaign in which they violated the terms of use in pictures used for their billboard images. They claimed to have seen a surge in support on Facebook, neglecting to mention that 80% of their fans are based in the United States. Most pro-lifers I know regard them as something of an embarrassment.

With this in mind I thought I'd examine the followers of their Twitter account. There are two useful bits of information when tracking Twitter users: time zone and location. Location is ideal, though sometimes must be taken with a pinch of salt. "Hogsmeade & Mordor" counts among its citizens a fan of Youth Defence, as does the Neutral Zone, which I take to be a Star Trek reference.

The time zone is a good secondary source and between them I was able to pin down countries for all but 13% of Youth Defence's Twitter followers. Those in the USA and Canada form 59% of their followers, those resident in Ireland comprise 14% and unknowns make up 13%.

Why are they more popular far from these shores? Is it reasonable to surmise that there are precious few against abortion in Ireland and that they must expand their scope to the new world to find a welcoming ear?


More likely, the only way to like Youth Defence is to live many thousand miles away, and know very little about them.

Source data below, usernames partially obscured for privacy, and later reversed for added obfuscation. If you're trying to verify my work and this is causing you problems sel. You might also enjoy a quick followup piece I did.

**l*ws**l*g*rfCentral Time (US & Canada)405USA / Canada
y*Jr**f**s**CEastern Time (US & Canada)Eastern CTUSA / Canada
*tl**rtn*CEastern Time (US & Canada)Washington Hts, New York, NYUSA / Canada
*g*c*hcll*cn*m3332 fenton ave bronx nyUSA / Canada
*t*dn*MSHHA Call to Protect FreedomUnknown
r**ntr*pn*rA place called Cork.Ireland
*d**dn*DAbuja, F.C.T, NigeriaNigeria
n*v*D*rBCentral Time (US & Canada)Acworth, GAUSA / Canada
*r*tn*vdl*hcAlaskaAlaskaUSA / Canada
B*n**tr*b*dn*fDPacific Time (US & Canada)Alberta, CanadaUSA / Canada
6601n*ll*Mountain Time (US & Canada)AlbuquerqueUSA / Canada
1d*Rm*d**rFAll over the damn place!Unknown
y*ntr**cpjPacific Time (US & Canada)Alliance NebraskaUSA / Canada
ss*c*rP_**DQuitoAmerica the BeautifulUSA / Canada
s*Bs**l*VEastern Time (US & Canada)America the beautiful!USA / Canada
r**t**rCDublinAn Bothar CroitIreland
n*m*Wr*br*Eastern Time (US & Canada)Ann Arbor, MIUSA / Canada
xGynn*BxEastern Time (US & Canada)Annandale, VAUSA / Canada
l**fdl***r*rAnti-clerical IrelandIreland
ct*sn*cs*cn*rFEastern Time (US & Canada)Aplena MIUSA / Canada
s**r*tSn**ll*B1Mountain Time (US & Canada)Archdiocese of DenverUSA / Canada
**d*Mm**Rr*pp*Mountain Time (US & Canada)Archdiocese of DenverUSA / Canada
m*Mc*l*ht*Cl**RPacific Time (US & Canada)Archdiocese of Mobile, AlabamaUSA / Canada
*f*L4N*M*ArizonaArizonaUSA / Canada
*f*l4sy*d04ht*bArizonaArizonaUSA / Canada
dr*fmym*Central Time (US & Canada)Arlington, TXUSA / Canada
*f*L_4_n*s*JArlington, VAUSA / Canada
**hcr*m*bEastern Time (US & Canada)Arlington, VAUSA / Canada
yd*rBl*n*dr*CDublinArmagh, of the mindIreland
tr*g*Sg**rd*PÁth Cliath DublinIreland
*s*pr*ps*h*f*lEastern Time (US & Canada)ATLUSA / Canada
*f*L*rP*sl*PAtlanta, USAUSA / Canada
F*nn*v*S77Central Time (US & Canada)AustinUSA / Canada
sw*Nc**r*HAustin, TXUSA / Canada
l4sxtCentral Time (US & Canada)Austin, TxUSA / Canada
*f*L*rP**ss**New CaledoniaAustraliaAustralia
**l*rts**_LWCHawaiiAustraliaUSA / Canada
98*n*ht*M*Ballyduff Upper, Co. WaterfordIreland
82nywGQuitoBaltimore, MarylandUSA / Canada
*n**m*dr**GVCBalzan, MaltaMalta
ncBV*DBarcelona - EspañaSpain
*c*rG*c*rbm**htbased in Southlake, TXUSA / Canada
*f*L4**r*m*r**LBay Area, CAUSA / Canada
c*l*ht*c**r*y*bPacific Time (US & Canada)Bay Area, Ca.USA / Canada
**nr*nn***ll*Eastern Time (US & Canada)Beantown, USUSA / Canada
1*S*w*Ns*r**HAtlantic Time (Canada)Between San Francisco and NYCUSA / Canada
n*r*m*CJy*nd*RCentral Time (US & Canada)Birmingham, ALUSA / Canada
wsl**Cy*WCentral Time (US & Canada)Birmingham, ALUSA / Canada
gn*rtsmr**tt*PCentral Time (US & Canada)Bismarck, North DakotaUSA / Canada
zr*K_tr*b*RMountain Time (US & Canada)Boise, IdahoUSA / Canada
x*l*f**v*L*hT4Eastern Time (US & Canada)Boston, MAUSA / Canada
*f*l*rp*BBoston, MAUSA / Canada
x*r*k*ZCentral Time (US & Canada)Boston, MAUSA / Canada
n*m*wtr*pp*s*Boston, MAUSA / Canada
3y*c*tsn*g*mEastern Time (US & Canada)Boston, MAUSA / Canada
31*rTht*Wgn*v*LAtlantic Time (Canada)Brentwood, NYUSA / Canada
p*Tn*ht**FBrisbane Queensland AustraliaAustralia
ll*Hl*ng*S*hTPacific Time (US & Canada)British ColumbiaUSA / Canada
*W*f*L*rPCentral Time (US & Canada)Brookfield, WisconsinUSA / Canada
**v*lr**pn*GGreenlandBruxelles, BelgiumBelgium
9*r*fhtr**Central Time (US & Canada)Bryant, ARUSA / Canada
*t*v_*rpSofiaBucharest, Romania, EUBucharest
*r**rr*ff*lnBuenos AiresBuenos Aires, ArgentinaArgentina
2691m*rJAtlantic Time (Canada)Burlington, OntarioUSA / Canada
6429Cf*KPacific Time (US & Canada)Burnaby, BCUSA / Canada
0221*n*Buenos AiresC. A. de Buenos AiresArgentina
zr*ts*P*f*LEastern Time (US & Canada)CAUSA / Canada
*f*l*rP_z*LPacific Time (US & Canada)CAUSA / Canada
tVP*MadridCádiz, EspañaSpain
tb*ws*b*bMadridCádiz, EspañaSpain
l*tc*xCalgary, AB, CanadaUSA / Canada
RBCn**d*n*CCalgary, AlbertaUSA / Canada
*ltn*mr*hr*dn*Mountain Time (US & Canada)Calgary, CanadaUSA / Canada
tr**Hs*r*hps*hPCaliUSA / Canada
y*ll**wn**l*gn*Pacific Time (US & Canada)CaliforniaUSA / Canada
t*bt*b_l*lPacific Time (US & Canada)californiaUSA / Canada
td*mhcSd*v*DPacific Time (US & Canada)CaliforniaUSA / Canada
*s*R*c*rG*l*LPacific Time (US & Canada)CaliforniaUSA / Canada
r*v*f*lyc*lPacific Time (US & Canada)CaliforniaUSA / Canada
sml*Fn**tc**v*LPacific Time (US & Canada)CaliforniaUSA / Canada
1111wsjCALIFORNIAUSA / Canada
t*nlh*SPacific Time (US & Canada)CaliforniaUSA / Canada
Mlr*G**d**California, USAUSA / Canada
*d*g*z*dhl*b*MadridCalvarrasa de Abajo SalamancaSpain
NLCNQuitoCanadaUSA / Canada
*f*Lng**pm*CQuitoCanadaUSA / Canada
ts*TR**h2TR*2*GAlaskaCanadaUSA / Canada
*ksr*l*Pyht*r*DCentral Time (US & Canada)CanadaUSA / Canada
r*sn*C**Fp*tSPacific Time (US & Canada)CanadaUSA / Canada
ntMn*sl*W*htr*BCanadaUSA / Canada
2*ll*B*cl*DCanadaUSA / Canada
sw*n*lpPacific Time (US & Canada)CanadaUSA / Canada
*t*S*f*LEastern Time (US & Canada)CanadaUSA / Canada
nh*jbdsHong KongCanlubang, Laguna, PhilippinesPhilippines
4891_CPCCCanon City COUSA / Canada
*S*f*l*rPPretoriaCape TownSouth Africa
n*V*d*V*JCaracas - VenezuelaVenezuela
**c*Rht*v*Caracas, VenezuelaVenezuela
s*l*W*f*L*rPCardiff, Wales.UK
89*r**mbQuitoCarmel, INUSA / Canada
stn**Sgn*s**RCatholic ChurchUnknown
l*v*Br*ht*FEastern Time (US & Canada)Catholic Distance UniversityUSA / Canada
m**Qv*DCatholic IrelandIreland
f*r**jCebu City, PhilippinesPhilippines
n*sr*dn*hn*dr*jEastern Time (US & Canada)Centerville, OHUSA / Canada
tt*mm*hlcEastern Time (US & Canada)Central FloridaUSA / Canada
46VWPJCharleston West VirginiaUSA / Canada
*f*l*rpss*mCentral Time (US & Canada)Charlestown, MAUSA / Canada
TLCsy*D04Charlotte, NCUSA / Canada
n*m*Wr*fsn**tp*Cherry HIll, NJUSA / Canada
pc*mn**jCentral Time (US & Canada)ChicagoUSA / Canada
7g*rd*r*Central Time (US & Canada)ChicagoUSA / Canada
sdl**fr*n*fEastern Time (US & Canada)Chicago areaUSA / Canada
*t*Vc*l*ht*CCentral Time (US & Canada)Chicago, ILUSA / Canada
n**tc**f*L*rPCentral Time (US & Canada)Chicago, ILUSA / Canada
stcdrpypschichagoUSA / Canada
999b*sCill DaraIreland
gr*sl**s2tr**h1QuitoCincinnati, OhioUSA / Canada
n*g*rr*by*sMexico CityCiudad de MéxicoMexico
LFSn**r*lCClarion University of PaUSA / Canada
yr**l*yss*mcleariestown wexfordIreland
r*s**Gt**ll*Eastern Time (US & Canada)Cleveland, OH, USAUSA / Canada
24*rv*Fyll*hSQuitoCleveland, OhioUSA / Canada
r*ht*mr**r*p*sCloistered in DublinIreland
p*dr**g*htAmsterdamCo. Kerry, IrelandIreland
yn*htn*tt*ntr*hDublinCo. Wicklow, IrelandIreland
yrr*Bzm*Co.Galway IrelandIreland
n*snh*Jybb*Central Time (US & Canada)College Station, TXUSA / Canada
*mn**d*vCentral Time (US & Canada)ColombiaUSA / Canada
lr*G*kS**BColoradoUSA / Canada
*f*wsy*g*f*l*rPColoradoUSA / Canada
1*s*Ryn*bl*ColoradoUSA / Canada
S*HT*LCD*RR*CSColoradoUSA / Canada
CCPCRArizonaColoradoUSA / Canada
ht**y*ht4ht*rtColorado Springs, COUSA / Canada
7r*ll*M*n*r**LMountain Time (US & Canada)Colorado, USAUSA / Canada
n*tsr*yrEastern Time (US & Canada)Columbus, OHUSA / Canada
*f*l**h*QuitoColumbus, OhioUSA / Canada
LTRCGColumbus, OhioUSA / Canada
**q*rb**n*l*t*CSantiagoConcepción, ChileChile
n**D*n*dr*JConnecticutUSA / Canada
*f*l*rp*f*lyEastern Time (US & Canada)ConnecticutUSA / Canada
*T*ST*Corby, Northants, England UKUK
ts*gs**r*Buenos AiresCórdoba, ArgentinaArgentina
**r*d*l*S**lFBuenos AiresCórdoba, ArgentinaArgentina
kr*cyrr*bCairoCork and Co.LaoisIreland
s**tt*d*nr*BCork CityIreland
n*tr*cn*kLondonCork, IrelandIreland
8n**rb*fCork, Limerick BorderIreland
MM*CL*B*LG2KEastern Time (US & Canada)CORNWALL-ON-HUDSON, NYUSA / Canada
LTR*S*AlaskaCorvallis, ORUSA / Canada
*rp*cn*f*dHawaiiCyber SpaceUSA / Canada
tr*b*hh*c*mCentral Time (US & Canada)DallasUSA / Canada
tdr*hnr*Bnw*DDallasUSA / Canada
stn*d*cc*s*ll*DCentral Time (US & Canada)DallasUSA / Canada
6z**qs*vpCentral Time (US & Canada)Dallas, TexasUSA / Canada
c*Sm*hgn*sl*WDallas, TexasUSA / Canada
r*s*ldl*r**pWellingtonDallas, TXUSA / Canada
n**tc*c*n*ps*HCentral Time (US & Canada)Dallas, TXUSA / Canada
*k*wn**tr*b*Dallas, TXUSA / Canada
*f*Lr*fn**g*LMountain Time (US & Canada)Dallas/Ft. Worth TexasUSA / Canada
sr*yM_g**DEastern Time (US & Canada)Dayton, OH.USA / Canada
sc*t*l*psw*nt*MQuitoDCUSA / Canada
rr*h*cc*bQuitoDCUSA / Canada
12*f**mQuitoDenton, TXUSA / Canada
r**lssn*RDenverUSA / Canada
*f*lr*f**ls*LMountain Time (US & Canada)DenverUSA / Canada
r*n**tstn*lcMountain Time (US & Canada)Denver, COUSA / Canada
*v*l*ncMountain Time (US & Canada)Denver, ColoradoUSA / Canada
tn*vd*w*nMountain Time (US & Canada)Denver, ColoradoUSA / Canada
*f*l_n**t*dn**fCentral Time (US & Canada)Destin, FloridaUSA / Canada
r*t*k*LondonDover, EnglandUK
y*lm*c_cDrogheda, IrelandIreland
z*bhc*tc*sHawaiiDubai,UAEUSA / Canada
*g*rd_**n*DDublinDublin (from Mayo)Ireland
dlr*w*b*gDublinDublin IrelandIreland
n*ln*csb*rDublinDublin IrelandIreland
*r*Sy*ldn*LDublin IrelandIreland
*d*s*r*F_n*lb*DAmsterdamDublin, IrelandIreland
r*hct*PL*c*ss*JQuitoDublin, IrelandIreland
ynn*M*lr**CasablancaDublin, IrelandIreland
D****rnn*DublinDublin, IrelandIreland
g**KcM*SDublin, IrelandIreland
ll*tr*hsn*yrbrfDublinDublin, IrelandIreland
n**t*c*vDC*DublinDublin, IrelandIreland
*f*L*rPdn*l*r*DublinDublin, IrelandIreland
dr*fr*m*Cxh*r*SDublinDublin, IrelandIreland
n*g*hyn*htn*DublinDublin, IrelandIreland
nn**q**r*m*nn*DublinDublin, IrelandIreland
D*LJ*NDublin, IrelandIreland
tr**CcM_DDublinDublin, IrelandIreland
yh**L_kc*JDublinDublin, Ireland.Ireland
t*L*r*w*NAmsterdamDublin, Republic of IrelandIreland
gn*nn*Gd**MDublinDublin/Sometimes CarlowIreland
16**Dyzz*DDublin/Wexford IrelandIreland
gr*bdn*Lr*ht*FDumfries, VirginiaUSA / Canada
r*lF_KEastern Time (US & Canada)EarthUSA / Canada
*z*g*k*NairobiEast AfricaKenya
*n**rCkc*rt*PEast Chezzetcook, NSUSA / Canada
*f*Cr*nr*C*hTt*Eastern Time (US & Canada)East CoastUSA / Canada
s*s*bhc**tPacific Time (US & Canada)East Hollywood, USA 3rd Rock ☼USA / Canada
ydd*dsc**s*Central Time (US & Canada)East of TahlequahUSA / Canada
KH*DEastern Time (US & Canada)Eastern USUSA / Canada
*y*yt*nPacific Time (US & Canada)el ayyyyy - city of angels!USA / Canada
pl*b*lc*rr*sEl Paso, TexasUSA / Canada
yb*g*f*l*rpMountain Time (US & Canada)El Paso, TXUSA / Canada
s**rts*n*m*c**vEastern Time (US & Canada)Elkhart, IndianaUSA / Canada
n*ll*m*rdr**dDublinEnnistymon, Co.ClareIreland
V*Dsg*lBGreenlandEspaña - SpainSpain
r*v*v**hc*r*dMadridEspaña - SpainSpain
*rht*J*hTEastern Time (US & Canada)Eugene, Oregon, USAUSA / Canada
5n**n*fEastern Time (US & Canada)Evansville, INUSA / Canada
t*n*lp*f*l*rpCentral Time (US & Canada)EverywhereUSA / Canada
Pd*nn*lP*k*FEastern Time (US & Canada)Fake Planned Parenthood clinicUSA / Canada
z_*_f*_m*mAtlantic Time (Canada)Far RightUSA / Canada
n*sl*_M_yht*m*TCentral Time (US & Canada)Fargo, NDUSA / Canada
*m*mn*dr*g*c**PCentral Time (US & Canada)Fargo, NDUSA / Canada
*v*lm**shcjd*gNew DelhiFaridabadIndia
WVs*nn*DEastern Time (US & Canada)Fayetteville, NCUSA / Canada
cll*hs*y*yr*v*QuitoFloridaUSA / Canada
d**rb**qc*jEastern Time (US & Canada)FloridaUSA / Canada
21kr*lC*ryKAtlantic Time (Canada)FloridaUSA / Canada
n*sd*H**m*r*JEastern Time (US & Canada)FloridaUSA / Canada
n*dr*jds*m*jEastern Time (US & Canada)FloridaUSA / Canada
*y*l*l*r*cEastern Time (US & Canada)Florida-USAUSA / Canada
*lr*M*dLEastern Time (US & Canada)Following ChristUSA / Canada
s*g*nn*FDublinFord of WaterIreland
p*hStc*d*n*BtSQuitoFort Lauderdale, FLUSA / Canada
hc**tS*dr*hc*REastern Time (US & Canada)Fort Myers, FLUSA / Canada
kl*TCCPAtlantic Time (Canada)Fort Pierce, FLUSA / Canada
rr*Kc*mr*CDublinFree Derry and BelfastIreland
ts*cd*P*f*L*rPAlaskaFresno, CAUSA / Canada
y*dn*H*s*LPacific Time (US & Canada)Fresno, CAUSA / Canada
lntn**f*Ln*m*HEastern Time (US & Canada)Front Royal, VA (World HQ)USA / Canada
*r*n*Jnh*JFront Royal, Virginia, USAUSA / Canada
r*v*v**t**r*dMadridGalicia (España)Spain
l**mf*l*yDublinGalway, TempleBar of the westIreland
7891GSSymr*Eastern Time (US & Canada)Gastonia, NC USAUSA / Canada
sn**t*l*S*f*L*GQuitoGeorgiaUSA / Canada
48nn*d*Eastern Time (US & Canada)GeorgiaUSA / Canada
m*L**LMadridGibraltar, UK.Spain
sg*lB*f*L*rPMountain Time (US & Canada)GlobalUSA / Canada
LPP*f*l*rPEastern Time (US & Canada)God's countryUSA / Canada
bm*wn*s*b*bGood QuestionUnknown
RGsy*d04Eastern Time (US & Canada)Grand Rapids, MIUSA / Canada
5kl*Tt**rtSLondonGravesend - Kent / LondonUK
07r**t*d*rParisGray, in FRANCEFrance
**m*T*s*r*TEastern Time (US & Canada)Greater Detriot Area, MichiganUSA / Canada
04nn**qdEastern Time (US & Canada)Green, OhioUSA / Canada
gn*l*rytr*ccmtGreencastle, PAUSA / Canada
dlr*w_sh*k*BGreenfield, INUSA / Canada
*f*Ltr**H*Central Time (US & Canada)Greensboro, NCUSA / Canada


Stephanenny said...

Fantastic work! Also worth noting is that I am St*ph*n*nny who lives in Cork and I'm following them to stay up to date with the nonsense they tout. I'd be interested to know how many others are doing the same!

Saoili said...

I am against abortion. Youth Defence are one of the best arguments I've heard for switching sides though.

Geoff said...

Saoili, I hear where you're coming from, and I certainly don't mean to tar all those who are against abortion with the same brush. I recognise that they're just a vocal minority and not representative.

Kat said...

Geoff, Ireland DOES have a prolife majority - how many likes or followers YD get from Ireland is not a safe estimate of Ireland's safe population!! Can I also just say regarding this article, that taking a list of twitter followers is not a reliable or trustworthy count of how many Irish follow YD. For one, there is 1,285 twitter followers compared to 63,178 facebook likes (i'm not implying these are all Irish!). Secondly, Not all twitter users have 'followed' YD - i for one did not realise it existed until 3 months ago! My sisters nor many of my friends haven't followed either! This has an impact on your 'research'. on a final note (it's over after this!!;) ) I know you have to provide backup for your claims, but it is not fair to those you have listed above that you have done such a bad job in covering their name and location!! I recognised so many people from the list, their names were so easily recognised!! *Rant over*

Kat said...

*pro-life population, sorry!!

Geoff said...

Hi Kat,

Thanks for commenting. While I welcome all comments I'm always especially pleased to see one from someone with whom I don't agree fully - they often lead to more interesting conversations.

To tackle your points in reverse order: The information on Twitter followers is publically available. You can easily see a list of @YouthDefence followers by clicking the followers link on their page. It's true for all Twitter accounts - you can even see mine if the urge takes you.

You've correctly observed why I put the information in the post - I'm a skeptical sort of chap, and if I saw a pie chart like mine without source data I'd be inclined to be dubious. I hope you would too! That's why the information is there - so other bloggers and interested parties can confirm for themselves that the information I presented is correct. I felt that replacing the vowels with stars allowed a measure of anonymity (greater than that offered by Twitter) while still allowing verification.

That said, your request is not unreasonable, so to further obfuscate the data I've reversed all the usernames. What was once G**ffssh*rts is now str*hssff**G. We may not yet see eye to eye on this point, but I hope you view it as an improvement.

On to your more substantive point - does Ireland have a pro-life majority? That to me wasn't the point at hand. I was discussing Youth Defence's claim to be the voice of the majority. Most pro-lifer's I know do not support Youth Defence's methods or approach, and would be horrified if others thought that Youth Defence was representative of pro life folk in Ireland. I've even had a comment to that effect on this post from a pro life reader. I'll think about how this could be worded more clearly and adjust. I may need more tea first.

You mentioned the 63,178 Facebook likes (and correctly noted that not all are necessarily Irish). You may be interested to know that according to the Facebook ad-buying interface the vast majority of those come from the United States.

But I don't feel this is the crux of your point - if I'm reading you correctly, you're saying that there's nothing inconsistent with being pro life and never having heard of Youth Defence (or indeed their Twitter account). On this I'm happy to agree with you.

I really appreciate the feedback, you have helped me see how I can express myself more clearly. I hope these answers helped clarify somewhat.

Best wishes,