Posts Tagged ‘barack obama’

Even In Social The US Election Is A Close Call

Today is a very important day to the people of the United States of America. It’s election day. A day that has been four years in the making. As I sat down to collect some social data around the two candidates last night I saw many a pundit on television talk about how the race was looking a little too close to call. Well, social data seems to be telling that same story.

Using MAP, our social media monitoring and analytics platform, I delved into social conversations since October first around the election to try and make a prediction on a winner based on online chatter. The problem is, it appears to be a very close race for the presidency. Looking for mentions of Obama or Democrat versus Romeny or Republican we can see that they’re neck and neck. In terms of overall mentions, Obama and the Democrats lead the way with just 51% of the share of voice. Romeny and the Republicans were very close though with the other 49%.

Even when I looked at those social mentions trended out over time we can see they’ve been very close for the last month and a bit. We can see that during the debates (which are the three large spikes we can see in the graph below) talk of Romney and the Republicans seemed to be the slight leader. However, for the past week and a half, Obama and the Democrats seemed to have gotten more talk.

However, as most of us have learned at some point in our lives, just because people are talking about you doesn’t mean they’re saying good things. So, I dug a bit deeper into each side of the election.

First I looked at Romney and the Republicans. Since October 1st I found 30.9 million mentions of them. 514,970 blog posts, 842,498 online news articles, 1,521,967 forum postings and 28,035,332 tweets. The top three states that were talking about him were California (11.56%), New York (10.37%) and Texas (7.1%). I also found that Romney and the Republicans have a 73% favourable rating. That came from having 27% negative talk and 24% positive talk.

I then looked at the same stats around Obama and the Democrats. They had a slight lead when it came to mentions with 32.7 million mentions. There were 626,307 blog posts, 992,778 online news articles, 1,933,088 forum postings and 29,236,730 tweets. Then, I found that the top three states talking about Obama and the Democrats were the exact same as their opponents; California (11.52%), New York (9.11%) and Texas (8.55%). And then came my big surprise. Obama and the Democrats were actually slightly behind in terms of sentiment. Their overall favourability rating was a 72%, coming in 1% behind Romney and the Republicans. While Obama matched him with 24% positive talk, the had slightly more negative talk with 28%.

Both the buzzgraphs and the word clouds around each side of the election doesn’t reveal a whole lot more either. They are both filled with election buzz words and are incredibly similar.

Like I said at the beginning of this post, this election may be a little too close to call. I would have liked to predict a winner to end this post, but even after examining the data, I’m having a hard time declaring an actual winner. Anything I said at this point would likely come from my own personal bias, so I won’t get into it.

We’ll just have to wait and see how this day plays out. I’m sticking with the pundits in saying that this race is way too close to call.

Who do you think is going to win? Can you make the call from looking at our data? Leave us a comment and let us know.

Also, be sure follow us on Twitter as we’ll be posting some interesting election social stats throughout the day.

The Good and Bad Sides of Social Politics

At times, the U.S. presidential election has been called a social media battle. This might be somewhat over the top but the digital landscape, in one way or another, has definitely become a battlefield as candidates strive to leverage social media to give themselves an edge in connecting with voters.

This is similar to 2008 president election between Barack Obama and John McCain. I don’t have to remind you about the much-maligned McCainSpace, which was described as a MySpace knock-off, which struggled against Obama’s well-oiled social media machine on Twitter, Facebook and YouTube.

The obvious message for PR, advertising and digital practitioners is they have to look to the U.S. election to not only see how powerful social media can be but also to learn from how it can be used incorrectly.

At the end of the day, the way that Obama used social media during the 2008 campaign is a powerful case study into social media campaigning at its best.

While the social media activity is through the roof, “the 47% problem” that hammered Mitt Romney recently is proof that social media can turn a campaign on its head.

For those of you may have missed it, a video was disseminated via social media in which during a closed door speech, Romney uttered words that were seen as him writing off 47% of the voting population.

This post isn’t about a political agenda or the validity of the video, it is meant to demonstrate that in 2012, social media is playing an important role in the most vital of national decision-making. It is a fascinating development in politics and sociology.

What happens between now and the election in November will no doubt be played out on social media. It’s up to all marketers and communication experts to pay attention, and learn from the good and the bad.

More: For insight into the tools and strategies used by Obama during his campaign, check out Barack 2.0.

More Talk About Paul Ryan

On Monday, Mark wrote here about Paul Ryan, Mitt Romney’s choice for his running mate and Vice President. When the announcement hit on Saturday, tweets were averaging 3,746 per minute. Since then, the talk has died down a bit, but Ryan is still a popular topic across the social sphere. Using MAP, our social media monitoring and analytics software, I took a look at the talk about Paul Ryan.

I did a search for the name “Paul Ryan” and his new Twitter handle “@PaulRyanVP” over the past week. I understand that some people are referring to him by just his last name, but with Ryan being such a common name I didn’t want to taint my results. In the past week I found over 1 million conversations about Paul Ryan. There were 35,709 blog posts, 46,554 online news articles, 69,627 forum postings and 940,365 tweets.

Trending that data out over time, we can see that Ryan, as a Representative of Wisconsin, was barely a topic of converstaion before Saturday. But on Saturday, when Romney announced him as his VP, talk skyrocketed. Since then, as I noted above, the Ryan chatter has somewhat calmed down but he still remains a big topic of conversation.

Of course, most of this talk was coming from the United States. The USA accounted for 83.1% of all the Paul Ryan talk. Of course other countries talked and reported on the new potential Vice President, but the country wit the second most mentions of Ryan, Canada, only made up 2.4% of all the talk.

Surprisingly, the majority of conversation about Ryan came out in a neutral position. Usually, when politics are involved, emotions and sentiment tend to get a bit more intense. However, in this case, only 18% of the conversation was rated negative and only 29% positive.

And just what were people talking about? Well, both our word cloud and buzzgraph show that Romney, Ryan’s running mate, is right there in the center of all the talk as well. We can also see that Ryan being named the “vice” “presidential” “candidate” is still a hot topic around him. As well, we see that “Obama”, who Romney and Ryan are running against, seems to be brought up a lot in conversation as well.

Lastly, I looked at the most retweeted tweets about Paul Ryan. The most RT’d was Mitt Romney announcing Ryan as his VP candidate, and the third most RT’d was Ryan making the announcement on his own account. However, the second, fourth, and fifth most RT’d tweets were not as pro-Ryan as the others. The fourth was actually a tweet that came from Obama’s Twitter account.

Paul Ryan Becomes the Talk of the Digital Town

It didn’t take long for social media to discover its newest political superstar.

Soon after U.S. presidential candidate Mitt Romney’s announcement that Paul Ryan will be his running mate, the name and account (@PaulRyanVP) blew up in popularity.

It seemed this was all the twitterverse was talking about. About 3,746 relevant tweets were being published every minute.

This goes beyond aimless conjecture. Ryan has not only gained a following within social media, but he has garnered considerable public support.

Perhaps the Republican Party has learned how to build online buzz after it was outflanked by Barack Obama’s use of social media during the 2008 presidential campaign.

The interesting part is while Obama easily overshadows Romney when it comes to online audiences, Ryan has a decisive edge on current U.S. Vice President Joe Biden (aka @joebiden).

I know what you’re all thinking, this might have played into Ryan’s selection as a way to counteract Obama’s huge digital presence with a young people.

Ryan and the rest of the GOP have to realize they will be under an even greater microscope. One misstep will be exaggerated to great lengths throughout social media.

In other words, Ryan’s selection is a shrewd move with significant online potential, but it could also backfire.

Time will tell on this, but the move definitely generated a lot of talk within the social media landscape as the campaign starts to heat up.

Can Social Media Win a Presidential Election?

The question about the role of social media in politics has been asked many times (even on occasion by this blog). It is a very important question, and with every election we inch closer to an answer.

A new study by NM Incite believes social media buzz is directly related to the eventual winner of an election.

It is easy to see why social media plays such an integral role in any national or global political decision. Though, it is still a bit of a mystery if the research is there to completely prove its ability to crown winners.

Personally, I think we still have to create the connection between a blog post or tweet and actually feeling empowered enough to go out and vote. While interest in voting is reportedly growing (based heavily on social media activity), there is still a way to go.

While the study doesn’t feel that conclusive, it is another feather in the cap for the reach and proclivity of social media. What started with Barack Obama seems to have been carried on to a high degree of success.

Based on what has occurred in the past few months, the Republican Party has been a consistent topic throughout the digital world. While this is due to their current primaries, if this carries over does it mean the Democratic Party is in trouble?

My guess is the answer is “no”. The Republican Party is on the tip of most tongues, but it has been far from positive, especially considering Barack Obama has not needed to enter the race yet.

What are your thoughts? Do you believe social media buzz is a predicator for who will win the election?

Mr Obama Goes To Twitter Town

Yesterday was a historic event in the world of social media, the President of the United States, Barack Obama, used Twitter to answer questions from the general public. In what is set to be the first of many Town Hall meetings using the mico-blogging service, Twitter users were asked to send questions to the President by using the hashtag “#AskObama.” In turn, the President tried to answer those questions in little 140-character snippets.

While the idea was very progressive and interesting, some people felt that the event didn’t go exactly as they hoped it was going to. For one, an estimated 40,000 questions were sent via the #AskObama hashtag, but since the event only went for about an hour, the President only had time to take and answer 18 of those questions. Others spoke out about  how the questions were chosen. The question were supposed to be coming from every-day Americans who wanted answers, but some said they only let through the soft-ball questions and others noticed that somehow a question from House Speaker John Boehner got asked while many others were passed over. The last criticism that I’ve seen apparent over the event was that the public was expecting the event to be more of a conversation via Twitter, as most people use the service everyday for, and it was rather more of the President dictating canned answers that seemed more like a broken up speech than an actual conversation with the people. To that end though, after the event finished Jack Dorsey, one of the cofounders of Twitter and moderator of the Twitter Town Hall, asked his 1.7 million followers how they can make these Town Hall events better in the future.

While Twitter is working with some partners to handle the official analytics and assessment of what actually happened on Twitter yesterday, we thought it would interesting to look at what the rest of the social media sphere was saying about the event using our Sysomos social media  monitoring and analytics software. A look at just how much the event was talked about starting the day before the event to this morning showed us that the event was talked about in 4,715 online news articles, 2,545 blog posts, 627 forum posts, 149 YouTube videos and 1,386 public Facebook statuses.

We also found that the two age groups that seemed to be most interested in the event were those 21-35 and the 51-and-over crowd who accounted for 33% of the conversation each. Not surprising was that those 20-and-under only accounted for 4% of the conversation outside of Twitter. As well, we found that outside of Twitter males seemed to be the ones talking the most about the Town Hall event.

While the event took place in the United States and was aimed at citizens from the country, a look at our heat map of the world shows that people around the world were still talking about the historic event. Of course though, the most conversation was coming from the USA as shown by the darker colouring.

A buzzgraph that we put together from all sources outside of Twitter gives us a look at what people were talking about in relation to Obama’s Twitter Town Hall. Near the center of the buzzgraph we can see that the people involved were being talked about the most; “pres” and “Barack” Obama as well as “Dorsey” who moderated. As well, we can see a strong connection to “Boehner” because of all the people calling foul on the fact that House Speaker got a question asked when it was supposed to be questions from the general public. We also see a strong connection to “140-characters” because a lot of news organizations talking about the event felt the need to explain how Twitter works to the non-tweeters. Around the edges we can also find some of the topics that were addressed including “taxes,” “debt,” “economies” and “jobs.”

When we focused in on specific mediums to see if different talk was coming from within we found that both online news and blogs seemed to be talking about the same sorts of things. The buzzgraphs for both online news and blogs looks very similar to the overall buzzgraph above. However, when we looked at what was being said about the event through public Facebook statuses we found that people weren’t really analyzing the event as much there. Instead, Facebook seemed to be being used by people to inform their friends that the event was happening. This is most evident by the time of the event “2pm” being right in the center of our buzzgraph. We also see words like “today,” “ask,” “hashtag” and “” being used to inform people of what was going on.

Overall, the Twitter Town Hall seemed to be a successful event despite some of the criticism it received. Lots of people got involved by sending questions and watching for the Presidents responses. Twitter also plans to do more of these types of events and wants to make them better experiences for their users. It was a very interesting experiment to see how politics and social media can mix, but what did you think of the whole event? Let us know in the comments bellow.

Is Social Media Really a Key Election Tool?

In the 2008 U.S. presidential election, Barack Obama leveraged social media to prevail over John McCain. In many respects, Obama’s use of services such as Facebook and Twitter legitimized social media and established it as a valuable tool within the political process.

Two years after the fact, a question that should be asked is whether social media as a key part of election campaigns has been over-rated.

Did Obama manage to catch lightning in a bottle at a time when people were looking for change, and social media was just emerging as new and different way to communicate and engage voters?

Without suggesting that social media shouldn’t be an important political tool, its use during elections needs to be explored given what happened during Toronto’s mayoralty election in which social media, frankly, was less than inspiring.

None of candidates effectively used social media. While they dutifully created YouTube, Facebook and Twitter accounts, it was like they were going through the motions. There was little creativity or engaging content, and nothing to suggest social media was the new hot election weapon.

As it turned out, voter turn out was strong, which has more to do with the hotly-contested mayoralty race, which had two leading candidates, Rob Ford and George Smitherman, with starkly different views of the Toronto’s future.

The lack of social media sizzle in Toronto, Canada’s largest city and the home to many of its digital companies, was a marked contrast to the recent mayoralty election in Calgary in which Naheed Nenshi came from behind to win defeat two two leading candidates.

For Nenshi, social media is credited as playing a key role. Mount Royal University professor Ron Strand provides a list of reasons why social media worked for Nenshi, including the fact his opponents had little enthusiasm for social media.

So how effective is social media within elections? Is it a magic elixir and a game-changer, or a good but not spectacular part of a political arsenal.

What Your Twitter Followers Say About You

Have you spent time thinking about who’s following you on Twitter? Who are these people and what kind of status do they enjoy within the TwitterSphere.

To learn more about followers, we used our MAP social media analytics service to explore people following five celebrities, five social media heavyweights and five media organizations.

We wanted to learn two main things: the differences between the five people within each group, and the differences among the three groups themselves. We based our study on two criteria: the number of followers that someone has, and the authority ranking of their followers.

We base “authority” on the number of followers, following, updates, retweets and several similar measures. For each of the 15 users in our study, we looked at the average authority ranking for their followers, and the countries where they are located.

We discovered that social media “heavyweights” have followers with the highest authority, followed by news organizations and and celebrities. Celebrities, on the other hand, have the most followers, followed by social media “heavyweights” and news organizations.

The full report can be found here.

The Talk of Twitter in 2010…So Far

Although 2010 is only a month old, there’s been no lack of news –the earthquake in Haiti, the continuing soap opera surrounding superstar golfer Tiger Woods and his string of affairs, the stunning box office success of Avatar, and the National Football League playoffs.

To get a handle on the most active conversations, Sysomos explored more than 100 million tweets from Jan. 1 to Jan. 15 within six categories: people, locations, film, business, sports and misc entities.


Barack Obama was the most talked about person amid growing criticism of how he has performed during his first year as U.S. president. Lady Gaga, one of the world’s most popular singers and performance artists, was second, while Michael Jackson was third amid reports that prosecutors were looking at laying involuntary manslaughter charges against his personal physician, Dr. Conrad Murray. Pat Robertson was fifth after he claimed the earthquake in Haiti was a result of a “pact with the devil” made by Haitian rebels when it was a French colony.


It was no surprise that Haiti was the most talked about country amid the tragic earthquake that happened on Jan. 12. It is estimated that the total number of deaths may be as high as 200,000.


The most talked about movie on Twitter was Avatar, which has attracted worldwide ticket sales of more than $1.85-billion, making it the highest grossing movie of all time. The three-dimensional film, which won the Golden Globe for Best Picture, Drama earlier this month, is expected to receive a Best Picture nomination when the Oscar nominations are announced on Feb. 2. Sherlock Holmes, the second-highest grossing movie behind Avatar over the past few months, attracted the second-most attention. The only person to rank among the top-15 film keywords was Edward Cullen, an actor who stars as a vampire a character in the popular Twilight film series.


YouTube attracted the most conversations as Nielsen reported that it had 105.5 million unique U.S. visitors in December, who watched 6.4 billion videos. Facebook, which now has more than 350 million registered users, was the second-most talked about business, while Google, Microsoft and Yahoo were third, fourth and fifth respectively.


The National Football League’s Cincinnati Bengals, which won its second division title since 1990, were front and centre on Twitter following the death of wide receiver Chris Henry, who died after falling out of the back of his fiancée’s pick-up truck. It was noteworthy that three of the top-five most talked about sports teams – the Seattle Seahawks, Cleveland Browns and New York Knicks – had suffered through or are currently having terrible seasons.

Miscellaneous Entities

iTunes was a dominant theme on Twitter, likely because of the intense speculation that the much-speculated Apple tablet computer would have the same impact on books that iTunes had on the music industry.  The iPhone OS, which ranked fifth, also benefited from the Apple tablet chatter. WordPress was fourth after it unveiled a fairly significant update to its popular blogging platform.

Methodology: We analyzed more than 100 millions tweets collected by our crawlers during the first two weeks of January. We used Sysomos’ semantic text analysis technology used to extract lists of above-mentioned entities. The algorithms are intelligent so they can take into account different variations: e.g., Barack Hussein Obama II, Barack H. Obama, or just Obama when referring to U.S. President Barack Obama. Using this analysis, we were able to find how many times each of these entities occurred within these 100 millions tweets, and then rank them based on how often they were mentioned.

Exploring the Political Twittersphere

Have you ever wondered how politicians use Twitter? Who are the most active politicians? Who do they follow, and who follows them? Who are the political strategists and media personalities that politicians follow? And within the political Twittersphere, who follows the most people, and who follows them?

To answer these questions, Sysomos took a deep look at how Twitter is emerging as a new and powerful political tool. We identified 168 of the most active political voices in the U.S., the U.K. and Canada. We then divided the 168 accounts into three groups:

– Group 1 – Politicians
– Group 2 – Political strategists, bloggers and media personalities
– Group 3 – News organizations that cover politics

Here is the list of top users, ordered by the number of followers they have within the political Twittersphere:


Here are some of the highlights, while here’s the complete report.

– Overall, U.S. President Barack Obama (@barackobama) is the most popular politician (Group 1) with 2.24 million followers. California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger (@schwarzenegger) is the most popular among the 168 members of the political Twittersphere with 68 followers, while President Obama is followed by 56 out of 168.

– Overall, ABC News’ Chief Washington correspondent George Stephanopoulos (@gstephanopoulos) is the most followed media personality (Group 2). Nansen Malin (@nansen), a blogger who’s on the Republican Party’s Executive Board in Washington State, has the most followers among group 2 members of the political Twittersphere.

– CNN Breaking News (@cnnbrk) is the most followed news source (Group 3) overall, while the L.A. Times’ Top of the Ticket (@latimestot) is the most followed among the political Twittersphere.

– Within the political Twittersphere, George Stephanopoulos is followed by the most politicians; Virginia senator Mark Warner (@markwarner) is followed by the most media personalities; while MSNBC cartoonist Darly Cagle (@dcagle) is followed by the most news organizations.

Finally, here is a visual representation of who follows whom:


This is the third Twitter report done by Sysomos. In June, we published our “Inside Twitter” report that documented Twitter’s growth and how people were using it. In August, we looked at Twitter’s most active users – the 5% of users who account for 75% of all activity.

Continue reading the complete report.