Why Geo-trending Powered Last Week’s State Of The Union NarrativeJanuary 28, 2015
Seven days ago, President Barack Obama delivered his sixth annual State of The Union Address. Yet this year, we saw a marked change in news coverage, as political correspondents began focusing their narratives on one, underlying question: what is the American public’s response?
The reason for this shift in news coverage (from ‘political experts only’ to ‘voter reaction’) is a direct result of the rise of geo-trending technology. With geo-trending technology (sometimes called geotargeting), news sources and content contributors now have the ability to identify social media sentiment by region and location. In the political world, this is BIG. It means the capacity to add context to social media opinions and shifts in real-time, segmented by relevant voting communities. Boiled down: it adds insight to better predict voting action.
Let’s take a Red Vs. Blue look:
So let’s put this into context of ‘state sentiment’. Below, is captured social media data taken from Texas during last week’s State Of The Union. Texas is typically identified as a red state, as it has voted Republican with a 10-20 margin in the past four Presidential elections:
Total Tweets Captured: 851
Total Posts With Positive Sentiment: 281
Total Posts With Negative Sentiment: 475
Total Posts With Neutral Sentiment: 95
It’s also interesting to note that the #hashtags, mentions, and languages fall in line with political demographics for this region:
Though the majority of Twitter responses for this region did not agree with the President’s speech points, even this data comes with surprises. The most influential content from this region within 24 hours of the address was actually a (slightly antagonistic) call to action from a Twitter page dedicated to immigration reform:
And then there’s the data from New York State.
New York is typically identified as a blue state, as it voted Democratic with a margin of over 20 in the past four Presidential elections. (*Note: data pulled from NY State only):
Total Tweets Captured: 2077
Total Posts With Positive Sentiment: 1194
Total Posts With Negative Sentiment: 525
Total Posts With Neutral Sentiment: 358
Top #hashtags and mentions also have a typically “blue” news skew:
Like Texas, the highest margin of sentiment is around 50%– only this time, it was comments in favor of, or disseminating information from, the President’s speech. The highest influencer came from Elizabeth Plank, Senior Editor for Mic News and MSNBC correspondent:
Though these are two ‘extreme’ examples, the predictive power in geo-trending for politics really lies in those waver states—the ones that shift from red to blue each election.But let’s not also forget international coverage. Geo-trending was seen to power the discussion at a world-wide level as well, as seen from this coverage by an international Sky News channel (geo-trending analysis displayed at 0:39):
It’s clear that for government and political analysts, geo-trending data is invaluable. And there’s a business value too; brands can now gauge consumer sentiment by region to tailor efforts in specific markets and demographics.
But the biggest impact is undeniably that our voices now have direct influence. Everyday social media content from voters like you and me is a source for insight that leads directly to change-makers. And that’s something we can all feel positively about.