Archive for the ‘Politics’ Category

Twitter Presidential Debates: Sept 26


UPDATE: McCain has committed to join.

Why: Why let the media pundits and political analysts have all the fun? You can now be an armchair critic, all you need is a twitter account, a TV, and internet access.

[On the first Presidential Debate on Sept 26, 2008, YOU get to be the armchair political analyst and use Twitter to score the candidates]

What is it: With the success of the previous Twitter SuperBowl ads rating last Jan, let’s repeat this community based voting event for the upcoming presidential debates, this time, you’re in charge.

9PM Eastern. September 26, 2008: Presidential debate with domestic policy focus, University of Mississippi, Oxford, MS. More details available from the commission of Presidential Debate.

You’re the judge! In your opinion, score points to the two candidates and tweet it

A) Score the candidates ability to debate
Using twitter, you can score the candidates with this handy scoring guide.

-3 for a personal attack
-2 for a false statement
-1 for avoiding the issue, or not answering the question
+1 for a successful assertion
+2 for a successful counterpoint to opponents assertion
+3 Quotable sound bite

B) Use Twitter to tell the world (use the hash tag)

Example: A proper tweet is: “Mccain +1 for articulating his energy policy #tweetdebate”

Example: A proper tweet is: “Obama -3 for calling McCain an old fart #tweetdebate”

Example: A proper tweet is: “Mccain +3 for great line: “It’s the economy stupid” #tweetdebate”

C) See what everyone else is saying

A good practice is to open another tab on your browser, and watch what others are saying on twitter search, tagged with the keyword #tweetdebate.

D) After the Debate, Tally your score, then leave a comment
At the end of the debate, count up your score, your twitter handle, then leave a comment on this post.
Tip: Enter your score into a spreadsheet in real time, saving you time to tally.

My twitter handle is

Obama scored a total +25 and McCain scored a total of +26

Then create a percentage: Obama scored 49% and Mccain 51%

Then soak in your glory of being a true armchair political analyst (and argue the scoring of the other twitter pundits)

Future Debates: Come back to this site for discussions

  • October 2, 2008: Vice Presidential debate, Washington University, St. Louis, MO
  • October 7, 2008: Presidential debate in a town hall format, Belmont University, Nashville, TN
  • October 15, 2008:Presidential debate with foreign policy focus, Hofstra University, Hempstead, NY
  • Despite that I work at a research firm, this event is entirely for entertainment, and some education, and won’t be used in any formal studies –have fun.

    Input from Zack Reiss-Davis

    Post Event Findings:
    The game started out with folks scoring as suggested above, but soon, the scoring became pretty lax, then many just used it as a way to track conversations. Current TV was showing tweets live on TV, which at one point, overwhelmed their system, resulting in no tweets showing. Twitter’s infrastructure withstood the onslought –I think they’re finally starting to see their opportunity as a major communication device.

    We started out strong scoring the sound bytes and assertions, but soon the threshold to score became too difficult. I suspect folks were also interested in Current TV, The Drinking Game, the Friendfeed debate room, or just used the tweetdebate tag to track all their responses. In any case it was all good –watching any event is no longer a lonely event –we participate and mainstream media is watching and adopting.

    tweetdebateA graph indicating the frequency of the term “#tweetdebate”

    Radio: Politicians Using Social Networks


    I had a great time on Mario Armstrong’s Digital Spin Radio (NPR Affiliate) which was joined by KickApp’s Michael Chin (who has a cool accent). He saw my post on Social Marketing from Democrats and Republicans, which kick started this conversation. Also, McCain has launched a new social network, using KickApps, which has caused a flurry of online discussions

    And yeah, they had to patch me onto the show, they must have had me on mute –insert joke below in comments, I need a bit of humility once in a while.

    Social Marketing from Democrats and Republicans


    Social Technographics of Voters
    Above: The Social Technographics of Voters, read Josh Bernoff’s Analysis which further segments the behaviors of McCain vs Obama supportersa

    In this post, I’m going to make some observations from my network, but my only caveat is, this is not representative of the whole tech industry. First, we should ask some questions about what I’m seeing:

    Does the Social Media Space tend to skew Democratic?
    I’ve noticed for some time that the web industry tends to skew very liberal and democratic, you certainly see elements of this within Digg, for example, I did an advanced query of dugg (voted) stories that got on the front page, (title only) and McCain has 42 pages (many stories are negative), and “Obama” has 65 pages (mixed bag of content).

    Does sentiment tell us much?
    Yet frequency isn’t telling, and sentiment is. Last night, I asked the community around me in Friendfeed to list out three keywords what come to mind in this association test for both parties. You can read the Republican, and Democratic responses –nearly opposite.

    Update: I’ve asked my Friendfeed network to think about why there’s strong liberal sentiment in FF, read their responses.

    Why does the social space (or at least my network) tend to skew so left? It could be a number of factors from age, willingness to adopt change, or that the ideology of the very social web in it’s essence could be core to liberal beliefs. In fact, if you read a book on blogging or social media marketing, you could quickly transplant the words “company” for “government” and the book would still read very logically.

    Is it because there may be many Republicans in Silicon Valley?
    Yet despite this lean from the left within my social media network, I do remember during the last election that a great deal of republican votes came from the Silicon Valley. I remember my friends who worked at NASA, Boeing, Lockheed, that were strongly encouraged by their management to vote Republican, as it would increase the eventual spending in the aerospace and hi-tech sector. Many of these companies have large headquarters in the Mountain View area, with thousands of companies supporting this eco-system, in fact read this 2004 article from the last election which profiles ‘sheepish republicans’ in Silicon Valley, it’s an interesting mix here in the valley as while folks make swing left in ideology, many are very wealthy.

    Is it adoption of Obama and McCain Social Media?
    Not all is lost by the Republicans in this space, this article by Techpresident (Which is indexing and commenting on the the digital marketing efforts of each candidate) suggests that even though Obama may have a grass roots lead within social media and dedicated staff (including Facebook co-founder), McCain’s supporters could master the tide by creating an API and encouraging the movement to create their own applications.

    Or is it speed of adoption of these tools?
    If speed is any type of indicator of adoption of social marketing, McCain just launched their online community on the campaign domain, called McCain Space, Yet Obama’s campaign has been up and running with MyBarackObama for some time.

    So what is it that fuels the social media space to appear to be more active for the Democrats vs the Republicans? Let’s focus on data:

    Some Answers May Lie with the Technographics of Voters (see above graphic)
    In Josh’s analysis, he points out that the tendency to Join (be in a social network) between Obama supporters and McCain supporters is nearly a margin of 13%, which isn’t a lot but given that across the board Obama members are more particiaotpry in soical technographics than McCain supporters they’re more able to energize their base. Perhaps the most telling is the Spectator behavior, which indicates which support group is more likely to consume citizen created content. Nearly tho-thirds of Obama, (59%) consume social content, and less than half of McCain (44%) supporters will consume social content, a margin that straddles the half way mark.

    Data about overall existing behaviors of users (technographics) are perhaps a key indicator that demonstrates why one party may have an advantage in social marketing.

    In typical internet humor, a meme called “Little known facts about Sarah Palin” continues to spread throughout twitter. Given her largely unknown background, the twittersphere has had fun creating her background for her.

    The above is just cursory observations, had I more time I would love to do a more formal study on this specific vertical, maybe in four years.

    Debate: Does the President need to know how to use a Computer/Web?


    In this above video (If you’re in a feedreader, or email, click here) John McCain admits to not knowing how to use a computer, but does it really matter?

    Although 71% of Americans use the internet (Internet world stats -2007) 70 year old John McCain isn’t unlike other Americans his age, in fact, only 22% of Americans 65 and older use the Internet. (Pew Research -2006) So does it matter if he, potentially the next President of the United States used the internet?

    This video has spurred up some discussion in twitter, Julie suggests that understanding modern ways is key:

    re: McCain – it’s not just about need. It’s about 21st century culture and new ways of thinking and communicating.”

    On the other hand Russpage says he’s got plenty of staff to help him, computer ability isn’t important:

    A president almost never uses a computer. What for? Email? He has people who do it for him. People do everything for him

    Despite the ranging views, this blog is about how companies use the web to connect with customers, it’s not a political blog, I do talk about the many presidential candidates using social networks to get their message out, and how the web reacts to the political discussion.

    Yet the question remains, and I’d like your answers:

  • Is knowing how to use a computer and use the internet a job requirement?
  • Does it impact a leaders ability to manage the country and impact the world?
  • Does it influence your vote, if so, why?
  • What do you expect from your leaders? CEO? President?
  • Although I’m a technologist that works for a technology research firm, I don’t believe it’s a critical job requirement, despite it being a very powerful intelligence gathering and communication tool.

    Few minutes later: As expected in the fragmented ‘web’ the conversation has spread to Friendfeed .

    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.

    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.

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

    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.

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

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

    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.

    Web Strategy Show: How the One Economy Corporation delivers Information and Power


    If you’ve read the Cluetrain Manifesto, you’ll know how the internet empowers individuals and smashes barriers. I had the opportunity to interview Rey Ramsey, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of the One Economy Corporation, he shares his passion for his program to deliver access to the internet to low-income communities.

    One of the outputs of the One Economy corporation is the beehive is a community website that provides resources as:

    “We created the Beehive to be the place to go for information and resources around the things that matter in our lives: money, health, jobs, school and family. And, we’d like you to have a little fun while you’re here so, we’re throwing in some games and quizzes to keep it interesting.”

    Townhall, a medium for civic journalists, community advocates and youth to engage provides “It uses technology to make it easy for people to share ideas, discuss topics and learn about issues.”