Democractic Nomination: Twitter, Blog, and Nominee Website Activity

I was watching the chatter, and participating in the conversation, with great fascination. I’ve recorded some data using free social media tools (minutes after Obama left the stage), that look at keywords on twitter, as well as ‘traffic’ to websites of the runners. I rarely place much weight in any single use of these tools, but there is a clear trend towards Obama getting a great deal of activity. Is this telltale to the future? I’m not sure.


twist
Above: Twist provides activity of keywords over last 7 days. I recorded this immediately after Obama spoke. No surprise that Obama frequency would be higher during this event centered on him.


tweet
Above: TweetVolume, date range unknown, making it difficult to place any weight on the value of this graph


spectrum
Above: Tag clouds comparing the three keywords, interesting, but not telling much, other than idea association, of course, context is everything, so the terms could be used in a negative way.


ice
Above: Blog Activity Over last 30 days, this is telling, Obama keywords much higher frequency.


alexa
Above: Alexa Website activity to Candidate sites, Obama has higher traffic


compete
Above: Compete website activity to Candidate sites, again Obama


Related Forrester report from Josh Bernoff: The Social Technographics® Profile of Voters. Love to hear your analysis on this. Also, leave comments below if you know of other websites that are tracking the web strategy of the campaign.

Was this interesting? Share with others by Digging it. Also, see this analysis on viral videos.

  • I’m all for Obama, but to be fair to the numbers, all these trends show is that there is a lot of chatter in the last couple of days about Obama, which coincides with his democratic nomination.

    McCain isn’t really in the news for anything extraordinary or significant, hence no unusual spikes of chatter.

  • Jason Samuels

    Overall I think it shows Obama’s campaign has a more active web presence.

    But what happens if you adjust the tweet volume stats to include results for “barack, hillary, mc cain”? Wonder if standardized use of “obama” affects the gap..

  • Pras true

    The blog and website trends are over 30 days.

    I’ll do this again as we get into the candidate debates.

  • Very cool, Jeremiah. There will be a direct correlation between Obama supporters being younger, more adept at using social media tools, and those leading to some new and interesting dynamics of real importance. I think Obama supporters using social media will be a de facto research organization for the campaign. They’ll be catching McCain, and the right wing groups, at their strategies almost instantly and then broadcasting to the world using all of the social media tools.

    For example, the right wing sound machine planned on using a Michele Obama speech against her today where she said “why’d he” several times, referring to Bush. In an effort to show her as a racist in the video clip they hoped we would here her saying “whitey.” Before Rush Limbaugh, literally it was Rush, could use the material today, it was all over the networks warning us that it was coming. Talk about rapid response! By effectively using social media tools, Rush was scooped on his own propaganda effort. This election is generational, much like the use of the tools. Don’t you think?

  • Jeremiah: The chatter during the debates should be very interesting. Looking forward to your analysis when the time comes.

  • Marc Vermut

    Well, I think it’s more fair to compare Obama and Clinton as they were basically in the same news cycle(s) and there was attention focused on their campaigns, whereas McCain has been bbqing for the last few months. That said, there is probably also a demographic issue at play between the Democratic and Republican parties.

  • When I say networks, I mean those formed on twitter and other social networking tools, not the networks on television.

    Keep studying this. The Republicans are at least one election cycle behind on this stuff. They are still in the command and control mindset. The supporters, overall, will reflect that.

  • Jason Samuels

    nevermind .. just tried it .. minimal difference on the tweet volume

  • Thanks Jason, saved me the effort. Other than “john” all the names are unique.

  • You also need to take into account the ‘technographic profile’ (to quote Groundswell); much of the Republican base isn’t big on online engagement at this point (generational issues as much as failure to capitalize on the tools, IMHO), and a lot of their media folks are in more traditional media (radio, cable TV).

    @Mike Chapman – I’m not so sure it’s command and control as where their conversations are happening, not necessarily online

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  • Remember the “when obama wins” meme? I’m pretty sure that meme created a lot of references to Obama http://www.kottke.org/when-obama-wins/

  • Jeremiah – I’m curious, what application/tool did you use to scrape screenshots of those sites?

  • Just paint.net a free Microsoft program that’s very limited in features.

    why?

  • sdf

    these graphs and charts and coloring books are meaningless unless all those hip/happening morons actually get their asses out of mom’s basement and vote for someone

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  • Hi Jeremiah,

    Another interesting tool covering this space is LinkInfluence at http://presidentialwatch08.com

    If any of you fellow Jeremiah followers interested in the political arena I have a draft report comparing the use of online media in the UK vs the USA which explores these tools. It is pretty simplistic, due to the target market.

    Please do make some critical comments on how it can be improved if you feel inclined… I’d really appreciate it. It won’t see the light of day here in the UK until later this year.

  • This is in response to this post #15(these graphs and charts and coloring books are meaningless unless all those hip/happening morons actually get their asses out of mom’s basement and vote for someone)

    _Nicely said_

    I do want to add this is a great post for both the insight and the demonstration of the tools used. Pretty cool what is out there today for free.

  • sdf amd Mathew

    Good points. let’s run this test again in Nov, and see if the buzz online matches to the true voting behavior.

  • As has been mentioned (Will in #10), this may just be the reflection of the age components and tech savviness of each candidates followers (in fact, I think that is precisely the measurement), but that does not negate the measurement itself.

    Tech may just be the tools of the Obama echo chamber, just as AM Talk Radio is the echo chamber of the reactionary conservatives, some of whom will be ardent McCain supporters (although many of them fervently referred to him as the devil incarnate less than a year ago). As Mike Chapman (#4) points out, these tools are some of the essential tools for reaching the Obama audience, but the tools mostly engage that audience and likely ignored by talk radio and the reactionaries.

    The question is which echo chamber is most effective. I’ll place my bet on old tech because the audience there doesn’t need new tools and habits, and they don’t listen to anything outside their belief system; their personal faith (meaning not religious faith) is absolute and infallible. As sdf (#15) said, the test will be whether the hip-and-happening crowd gets out and votes.

    Doing this same measurement following each convention and a couple of times before election day would be very interesting in tracking any shift in tech use by the different groups as their strategies shift.

    Thought provoking post, as usual. Thanks Jeremiah.

  • Mike, great high level objective view.

    I agree, we should be looking at a multi-medium study, not just what’s right in front of us.

    I wonder who has data on number of voters between “young” vs “old” in US.

    Without a doubt, this is certainly an interesting election year.

  • @sdf – ouch, I feel a return to ’00 w/your comment. Haven’t you heard that “hip/happening” people are participating? Record primary attendance?

    On a separate note, I do think the online trend charts aren’t yet indicative of anything as they’d show Ron Paul at a much higher level than any other Republican (perhaps higher than Hillary Clinton).

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  • I suspected this would be a topic of conversation floating over and por el blogasphero.

    To project anything from Twitter besides that we’re in the early stages of radical changes in our ICT (for those of you who escaped grad school speak, that’s Inforation Communication Technology) is myopic, irresponsible and naive.

    That is, if we can start having some humility, get outside our own echo-chambers.

    Jeremiah, as you proved when calling out for help after the earthquake, sometime even the most die-hard PR/ad/online/socialmedia/viral/convesation/interactive ya yas have deeper needs than promoting brands.

    My link is to a very personal period in my life when I began my grad. school program in Online Communities and was lucky to take a semester with Cory Doctorow, who was a visiting Fulbright professor for that schoolyear.

  • There is a clear trend of an increased social media usage by Obama followers. But, maybe a good piece of supporters is just used to these tools. Clearly, social media has the advantage of connecting with people (and to info), bringing up news to the surface (transparency) a.s.o. But analyzing those tools alone would not take us very far.
    We have to rethink the idea of relationships through such media as well as the ‘established’ media. Barack Obama published 3+ books – biographies and personal thoughts. I think people could build a relationship to Obama based on his ideas published. The relationship is very personal and if one believes in Obama as a person, he believes in the ‘Change’ notion, too.

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  • Google Trend is absent ;-(

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  • Ashley

    Nine out of 10 Republicans supports Sen. John McCain, whereas only about 8 in 10 Demorats supports Sen. B. Hussein Obama, with 25% of Sen. Hillary R. Clinton’s former supporters saying they will vote for McCain this November.

    With Republicans firmly in their candidates corner, there’s going to be less chatter than there would be amongst Demorats, who only recently concluded a protracted, bitter primary season.

    That’s why the Obama disciples are so much more active.

  • im loyal to obama website its easy to search.

  • I imagine the same could be said for any social media site. I suspect Facebook, Myspace and others would also have the same spikes, Twitter is simply easier to monitor because everything said on Twitter is in the public view.
    This would be why Google are putting so much emphasis on their real-time search development.
    One does wonder, though, how much of the chatter is genuine and how much is manufactured – switched on PR professionals know the value of this kind of promotion and Obama certainly had good PR people.

  • Pras true

    The blog and website trends are over 30 days.

    I'll do this again as we get into the candidate debates.