Bin Laden vs The Royals

By Sheldon Levine - Thursday, May 5th, 2011 at 7:29 am  

It’s been a busy week for news, but more importantly, all that news has sparked even more talk in the social media realm. Last week I blogged about the royal wedding and all the talk online that was leading up to the big day. Then, on Sunday a huge story broke about the death of Osama Bin Laden and again I blogged about all the online talk surrounding that. What’s really interesting is that while there was a lot of talk about both stories, one gathered speed as it approached over time, while the other came out of no where and just took off. Let me show you what I mean by using MAP, our social media monitoring and analytics platform.

A look at the past six months across Twitter, blogs, forums and news comparing both topics shows that talk about the royal wedding was ongoing, but saw most of it’s talk come in the days leading up to the nuptials (and right after the “I do’s”). To contrast that, talk about Bin Laden was almost flat for the past six months until the huge spike it saw when the news of his death was announced on Sunday night.

However, when I broke those same stats down into a share of voice pie chart, we can actually see that while talk about the royal wedding was happening for six months, the news of Bin Ladens death managed to overshadow it in a much shorter time.

The news about Bin Laden overpowered the talk of the royal weddings in almost all mediums. The one place I saw a difference was in blogs. A look back to my post last week about the royal wedding showed that it was a continuing topic from the time the engagement was announced until the wedding and blog posts about Bin Laden couldn’t overtake that in such a short amount of time. However, all the news articles, forum posts and millions of tweets about Bin Laden’s death helped to propel it when we looked at over all media. In blogs, the breakdown was 53.5% of the conversation about the royal wedding and only 46.4% for Bin Laden.

Next I decided to look at just the past week. The chart starts the day before the royal wedding, when a lot of the anticipation talk was happening, and goes until May 4th. What’s interesting to note here is how there was a lot of talk about the royal wedding, but it almost completely drops off as soon as people started talking about Bin Ladens death.

When I broke this one down to see the actual share of voice, we can see just how much news about Bin Laden’s death has overshadowed the royal wedding. In the past week, despite it’s head start, the royal wedding only accounted for 27% of online conversation while talk of Bin Laden made up the other 73%.

Lastly, I wanted to compare just who was talking about each of these hot topics. A look at where blog talk was coming from reveals no real surprises. There was an almost even split between bloggers from the US and the UK talking about the wedding, while the US was of course more vested than anyone in talk about Bin Laden’s death.

A look at age demographics reveals some interesting things. First is that younger people (20 and under) seemed to have a lot of interest in the royal wedding while the 51+ crowd did not (or at least they weren’t blogging about it). When we look at blogs about Bin Laden’s death we can see that the 21-35 crowd was doing the most blogging, but the 51+ crowd seemed to be blogging about this topic a lot as well.

Lastly, I broke out our new Twitter gender determination feature to see who was Tweeting about each event. 56% of the tweets we found about the royal wedding came from women, while men seemed to tweet more about Bin Laden (coming in at 64%).

Royal Wedding Tweets:

Tweets About Bin Laden’s Death:

Comparing these two events turned out to be quite interesting. While the royal wedding was known about and talked about for months in advance, we can see that a breaking news story that interested the entire world gained much more talk in a much shorter period of time.

If Prince William and Kate Middleton decided to elope, would we have seen similar spikes in talk rather than how it played out over months?

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