People Pay Tribute To Thatcher (And Some To Cher) Through Social Media

Baroness Margaret Thatcher, the woman that changed British politics, sadly died yesterday. Thatcher was the Prime Minister of the United Kingdom from 1979 to 1990 and was well known for her tough attitude, which earned her the nickname “The Iron Lady.” While Thatcher was well known around the world during her time in office, she came back in to the spotlight a few years ago when Meryl Streep portrayed her in the critically acclaimed movie Iron Lady.

Because of Thatcher’s popularity, the entire world had something to say, both good and bad, when they learned about her death. Using MAP, our social media and analytics platform, I looked up mentions of Margaret Thatcher yesterday and found her name mentioned in about 2.1 million social media posts. I found 14.641 blog posts, 33,653 online news articles, 16,986 forum postings and 2,086,003 tweets mentioning her name.

These mentions of Thatcher were coming from around the world. While Thatcher was most well known in the UK where she had her political career, the most mentions of her name actually came from the United States with 26.6%. The United Kingdom actually mentioned her the second most yesterday at 25.1%. If we also look at the heat map of where tweets about Thatcher came from, we can see that people all over the world had something to say about her death.

When I usually look up the most retweeted tweets around a world-wide public event, I usually find jokes being made and retweeted. However, when I looked at the most retweeted tweets around Thatcher I found that most of them were people spreading news stories about her and saying kind words. Even the last tweet from the RT’d below is paying tribute to Thatcher, albiet in a funny manner.

However, not everyone was a fan of Thatcher. Because of her strong views, she managed to make some enemies in her day. People seemed to be split when they talked about Thatcher yesterday. A look at the sentiment around her name shows that 33% of the mentions of Thatcher were positive, but 27% were negative.

I then looked at the hashtags being used when people were talking about Thatcher on Twitter and found a few interesting things. The first four hashtags aren’t that interesting as they are her name, RIP and her Iron Lady nickname. However the fifth most popular hashtag I found was #JFT96. I had to look up what this meant and found out that it relates to a football (or soccer as North Americans say) match in which too many people got into the stadium and 96 died, mostly of being crushed, and another 766 were injured. The people always blamed the police and the government (wich was under Thatcher’s rule at the time) and have since been trying to seek justice for their deaths.

Another interesting hashtag was the #NoStateFuneral hashtag. As I said, not everyone was a fan of Thatcher and when it was announced they would have a public state funeral for her some people were against the idea. Thatcher was known for trying to privatize state owned businesses and the public who didn’t like this think that her funeral should be private to keep in line with her policies.

The last hashtag, #NowThatchersDead is also an interesting one, but for a very different reason.

There was a bit of confusion around the #nowthatchersdead hashtag yesterday. While people meant for it read with capital letters like #NowThatchersDead, some folks read the hashtag as #NowThatChersDead and thought Cher, the famous singer, had died. Cher doesn’t necessarily get talked about a lot in social media on a daily basis, but yesterday she received almost 252,000 mentions.

It was actually kind of a funny thing to see the reactions around the hashtag.


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