QRCA in Montreal: Finding the needle in the social media haystack

October 4, 2012 | Comments Off

Social Media Listening: Finding the Needle in the Haystack
Presenter: Annie Pettit, Ph.D.

Social media research is a massively popular methodology right now, enjoying a giant uprise in awareness and interest. But for all that popularity, there is a need for guidance on how to conduct this type of research with the highest level of validity. First, we will demonstrate how to find the right data from which to generate hypotheses. The Internet is a plethora of spam, advertisements, marketing messages, and consumer opinions but only a portion of that data will actually suit the research objectives of any particular study. Second, we will demonstrate how social media listening data can be used to inform and direct other research methods such as traditional survey data, focus group data, and the broader range of qualitative methods.

If you weren’t able to attend, don’t worry! Here are the slides. It’s not as good as in person, but we’re sure you’ll find some useful tidbits.

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NFL Brand Takes a Hit in Social Media

September 26, 2012 | Comments Off

What’s worse than no football season? A football season with bad refs.

monthly nfl sentiment

Let’s take a look at sentiment towards the NFL and football referees over the last year.  The NFL (red line) generated thousands upon thousands of social media conversations. At least 30% of those conversations were positive, and more and more have been positive over the year. At least until September, that is. On the other hand, the poor referees haven’t been in the good books all year with no more than 19% of messages about them being positive. And, they took a big hit in June and July when fewer than 8% of social media conversations were positive.

Percentage of conversations that are positive

But if we look just at daily conversations since September 1st, and particularly since yesterday when massive errors in refereeing took place, everything changed. While people chatting on social media continue to be just as unhappy with the refs, now they are also extremely unhappy with the NFL. The percentage of conversations about the NFL that were positive dropped drastically from around 40% to only 20%. That’s a massive decline that won’t make for an easy rebound. The NFL had better have a good plan to get themselves out of that hole.

What do people say about the referees

So what exactly are people saying about the replacement referees? If we look at just the kinds of words and phrases people used when they talked about referrees over the last two days, the words really aren’t all that mean. People are disappointed, they think people ought to be embarrassed, and they feel the whole situation is a disgrace and a blow to integrity of the sport. But hiring unqualified employees isn’t really the fault of the employees.

What do people say about the NFL

Who’s fault is it? Certainly, the NFL’s fault. I’d like to tell you what kinds of words and phrases people used when they talked about the NFL but my mother told me to never say those words. I’m sure you can read them but please don’t read them out loud.

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Romney vs. Obama: A daily fight

September 24, 2012 | Comments Off

The crunch has begun and the race is exceptionally close.  Though Obama is generally leading over Romney when social media opinions are compared, the race gets tighter every day. Today, Obama is in the lead, tomorrow…. it’s hard to say. Stay tuned for the newest numbers.
Romney Obama Sept 24

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Word of the Day for Chick-Fil-A

September 18, 2012 | Comments Off

Barely two months ago, Chick-Fil-A burst onto the social media scene with a flurry of activity. Here are the top words of the day on July 18 followed by the top words of the day on September 14. Notice any differences?
Chick Fil A July

chick fil a sept

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The iPhone 5: Big deal or big disappointment? #MRX

September 13, 2012 | Comments Off

Using only the information in this chart showing daily mentions of the iPhone 5 in social media, I challenge you to tell me when Apple announced the newest iPhone. There can be no double that September 12, 2012 was the big day, precipitated by the announcement of an announcement just the week before.

iphone 5 release timeline

As you can see, reaction was swift, but reaction alone tells you nothing about whether people were excited and happy or annoyed and disappointed. So let’s take a quick peek at what people had to say about this upcoming release.

First of all, a handy dandy word cloud is a quick way to get a sense of overall emotions. Impatience and excitement were the words of the day though a few people had some less than nice things to say.

iphone 5 sentiment emotions

What do people think of the features? Are they happy with how the apps will work? Happy with the memory? The battery life? The camera? Here are a few pie charts showing the percentages of people who had good things, bad things, or neutral things to say about each feature. It looks like mobile apps won this round.

iphone memoryiphone cameraiphone batteriesiphone mobile apps

And are people prepared to buy? Are they looking forward to the iPhone 5 with anticipation, eager to recommend, ready to buy, happy to wait? In this case, even though people aren’t happy about the wait, anticipation is leading the field!

iphone recommendiphone waitingiphone appreciationiphone anticipation

There must be a whole lot of fanbois and fangirlz out there with their fingers eagerly playing with their wallets because that is a ton of greenly goodness!

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Google Doodle Hits and Misses: Social media opinions of tiny artwork #MRX

September 12, 2012 | Comments Off

You know you love them.

Google continually comes up with creative, hilarious, ridiculous, and downright amazing doodles. You probably have your favourites, and maybe the recent Star Trek doodle is among them, but are they the same as everyone else’s?  Have a peek through this chart to find out which doodles generated the most conversations (the longest blue bars) and which ones generated the most love (the longest green bars).

At the bottom of the page you’ll see the winners and losers. Surprised? Let us know!

You can see all the original doodles in the archives here.

google doodle sentiment scores

Most Loved: Eadweard J. Muybridge’s 182nd Birthday. A moving image based on static images.

Least Loved: Ruby Payne-Scott’s 100th Birthday: El Boringo!

Most chatted about: Robert Moog’s 78th Birthday: Play the synthesizer yourself!

Least chatted about: Alexander Grin’s 132nd Birthday; El Boringo!

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Lil Wayne’s Dedication 4 U is Hard

September 7, 2012 | Comments Off

On September 3rd, Lil Wayne (and DJ Drama) released his highly anticipated mixtape, Dedication 4, featuring him rapping over popular songs. Reactions in social media were swift as thousands of people voiced their opinions online.

In an analysis of thousands of opinions shared in the social media space, anticipation was high with 51.8% of those comments being positive compared to only 12.2% being negative (the remaining 36% were neutral). Once the release dropped, sentiment declined to about 24.6% positive, 37.0% negative, and 38.4% neutral.

Though many people loved the release, others had less than kind things to say about it. Comments ranged from positive to negative:

  • Nicki’s verse on dedication 4 is awesome!
  • This beat so fn amazin
  • Just listened to Dedication 4….. CORNY!
  • man.. this sucks hugecompared to the original, sorry

And, challenging the sentiment processor to do its best work, comments also ranged from slang to professional.

  • damn the dedication 4 hard af
  • on dis dedication4, all he tlk bout iz grlz. gay
  • I really don’t like dedication 4 at all. All the topics are the same.
  • I thoroughly enjoyed the mixtape. You can easily tell Wayne had lots of fun recording it.

Some of the most common comments related to the release include appreciation for it (14.5% of conversations), the songs being funny (8.8% of conversations), downloading it (8.8% of conversations), and racism (4.7% of conversations).

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Social Media Reaction to a Separatist Win for Quebec

September 6, 2012 | Comments Off

The September 4th election in Quebec brought unprecedented voters to the polls leading to a minority win for the pro-independence Parti Québécois. Reactions in social media were swift as thousands of people voiced their opinions online.

In an analysis of thousands of English language opinions shared in the social media space, the reaction was obviously mixed.  Among all messages about the Quebec election, about 12.8% were negative, 71.4% were neutral, and about 15.8% were positive. As opposed to a strongly positive or strongly negative stance, this highly neutral reaction mirrors the mixed opinions reflected in the minority win.

Reaction to Pauline Marois specifically was 18.4% positive (15.7% negative), a similar reaction to her party’s win which generated 16.8% positive scores (10.6% negative).

Similarly, Jean Charest, the long-time Quebec Liberal Party leader and Premier, generated opinions that were only 9.9% positive and 15.1% negative. His party generated opinions that were 8.1% positive (12.2% negative).

Surprisingly, voters focused on individual people and party’s as opposed to specific issues. In the weeks leading up to the election, only 4.7% of conversations specifically mentioned separatism, compared to 8.7% mentioning schooling, 1.4% mentioning the economy, 0.5% mentioning health care, and 0.2% mentioning child care.

[Results specifically excluded all conversations related to the shooting that killed one person at a PQ post-win event.]

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How long and how low can Todd Akin go

August 29, 2012 | Comments Off

Just a few short days ago, US congressman Todd Akin made a public statement that took him out of relative obscurity and thrust him directly into the very public eye.

todd akin daily

A quick glance at the chart showing daily mentions of him in social media clearly illustrate that prior to August 19, no one really cared what he had say. Other than a blip during early August after being declared the winner of the Republican Primary for US Senate, daily mentions of him were near zero. Then, on August 19, daily mentions of him spiked to thousands upon thousands. Something significant happened on this specific day and stayed on the public’s mind for a short time.

So if your question is how long can Todd akin go, the answer is about ten or so days. Because, in the ten days following that event, social media was abuzz with his words. Only in the last couple of days has the buzz decreased to levels similar to early August.

Those of us living under a rock might be wondering what exactly Todd Akin said. Assuming I’m one of those people, someone who has a klout score of 7, I decided to rummage through Conversition data as if I knew nothing at all.

After collecting an abundance of data from all across the internet and scoring it on the thousands of pre-defined, pre-validated variables in our system, I selected three sets of variables. First, I selected out the 20 variables with the largest sample sizes. Second, I selected out the 20 variables with the most negative scores. And third, (come on, you can guess!) I selected out the 20 variables with the most positive scores.  I then rummaged through those 60 variables and chose the most specific variables (as opposed to general variables like ‘health care’ or ‘politics’).

todd akin variables

And now, left with just 24 variables from an initial set of over 5000, I made a random guess at what Todd Akin said. First of all, the data tells me that Todd Akin is a North American Republican politician. He said something about rape, the resulting pregnancies, and abortion. It was such big news that MSNBC, Fox, and BBC covered it. It was compared to the recent comments that a Chick-Fil-A representative made about homosexuality.

In addition to discovering WHAT Todd said, we can also see how people viewed those opinions. See all those red bars? Those are negative opinions. And the green bars? Those are positive opinions. See how the red bars are much more prevalent than the green bars? Even though I specifically chose both positive and negative variables, the negatives still far outweighed the positives. (Verbatims were scored positive, neutral, and negative, though the chart only shows %negative and %positive.) Clearly, social media had a lot of negative things to say about Todd’s comment.

So how long and how low can Todd Akin go? Well, the first chart tells us it can go about 10 days. And, the second chart tells us it can go as low as 56% negative and 0% positive.

Now we’ll just have to wait and see whether social media forgives and forgets.

The Snooki Baby Chronicles

August 28, 2012 | Comments Off

The reality television world welcomed a new baby to the world this week when Snooki, of Jersey Shore fame, gave birth to a boy.

Snooki Time Line

It all began 9 months ago, but in terms of the social media space, you can see in the chart that it actually began the week of February 27 when the volume of conversations spiked dramatically.  And, we can also see the exact date when people learned of the subsequent birth on August 26. It’s interesting to see that the volume of conversations around the announcement of the pregnancy far outnumbered the volume of conversations around the announcement of the birth. Even though it’s new news, it seems the birth is simply old news!

snooki baby name lorenzo dominic

And what did Snooki name her fair child? Once again, social media comes to the rescue by sharing the name Lorenzo Dominic. Many people had a bit of fun calling the child Baby Guido, but that moniker just couldn’t keep up with mentions of the actual name.

So what do social media users think of the whole affair? Our analysis of hundreds of thousands of social media conversations gave Snooki two thumbs up. That is, two thumbs out of ten fingers.

About 6% of conversations were negative:

  • I give that baby 5 days before Children’s Aid takes it away
  • She thinks babies are disgusting and won’t change the diapers

About 73% of conversations were neutral:

  • I have no idea why people care
  • We really don’t need another snooki but whatever

And, about 22% of conversations were positive:

  • God bless your wunderful bundle of joy!
  • Yayyy! Snooki had her baby!


Wherever you stand, a new baby is a delightful event. Congratulations Snooki and Lorenzo!

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