A Week Worth Of US Government Shutdown Social Chatter

By Sheldon Levine - Tuesday, October 8th, 2013 at 7:30 am  

ClosedIt’s been over a week now since the United States government has shutdown.

For those unaware of what’s going on in the United States, the government has shutdown a bunch of services that Americans rely on because they couldn’t agree to vote to fund all of these programs. The debate over the funding actually has nothing to do with funding these government programs, but instead a bill that was tacked on to the funding about The Affordable Care act, more commonly known as ObamaCare. ObamaCare is something that the Republicans and Democrats have been at ends with each other about for years, but this is the worst the fight has gotten.

Anyways, this post is not about our opinion of what’s going on, but rather to show the world the reaction to the government shutdown through social media. Using MAP, our social media monitoring and analytics software, we took a look at mentions of the shutdown since it began on October 1st.

In the week since the United States government shutdown, we found the shutdown mentioned over 5.4 million times in the social world. Shutdown was mentioned in 110,934 blog posts, 241,450 online news articles, 132,370 forum postings and 4,933,160 tweets.

MAP - Activity Summary

When we took those mentions and trended them out over time we found something interesting. It seems that the first day of the shutdown, it was all anyone could talk about. But then as time went on, people were talking less and less and about it. The talk hit a low over the weekend, but rose a bit again yesterday as the work week began and it looked as if the shutdown was about to head into it’s second week.

MAP - Popularity Chart

This problem is one that mainly affects people within the United States, but because they’re such a powerful force around the world, the shutdown is being talked about in all corners of the globe. A look at the breakdown of countries talking show that 75.5% of the social chatter about the shutdown has come from within the United States. The country that seems to be the next most interested in the shutdown are their neighbours to the north, Canada, with 3.3% of the shutdown conversation, followed by the UK (2.9%) and Australia (2.3%). Beyond these countries, our geo location heat map shows that tweets about the shutdown are being made around the world.

MAP - Country Distribution

MAP - Twitter Geo Location Heat Map

A look at our buzzgraph and word clouds show that people seem to have a general interest in what is actually going on. In both of these text analytics tools we can see words that help to explain the story of what’s happening like “senators” and “congress” “delays” “funding” over “ObamaCare”. We can also pick out some of the key players being talked about like the “republicans”, “Obama” and “Boehner”, the Speaker in the House of Representatives.

MAP - Buzzgraph

MAP - Word Cloud

When we looked at the most retweeted tweets about the shutdown we found that three of the top six came from President Obama himself who is trying to end the shutdown and get congress going again and funding to those government programs that are currently not operating and not funded. Of course, there is also a few jokes snuck in among the top retweets too.

MAP - Most Retweeted Tweets

Lastly, we pulled up the sentiment surrounding talk about the shutdown. Here we found that only 16% of the conversation had positive sentiment around it. However, there was a lot more negative talk about the shutdown, which accounted for 31% of the conversation.

MAP - Overall Sentiment

Tags: , , , , ,