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Twitter Townhall Report

Twitter Townhall Report

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Published by ohmygov
This report identifies patterns in 25,000 tweeted questions and comments sent to the Twitter hashtag #askobama in the lead up to the July 6th 2011 Twitter Townhall held by President Obama. The analysis assesses the most popularly cited issues by both members of Congress and their constituents at large. The analysis revealed that the most popular topics for questions/comments were about jobs, the economy, taxes, and the federal budget.
This report identifies patterns in 25,000 tweeted questions and comments sent to the Twitter hashtag #askobama in the lead up to the July 6th 2011 Twitter Townhall held by President Obama. The analysis assesses the most popularly cited issues by both members of Congress and their constituents at large. The analysis revealed that the most popular topics for questions/comments were about jobs, the economy, taxes, and the federal budget.

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OhMyGov Inc

T 703-243-3461 http://consulting ohmygov.com

OhMyGov Inc. Obama Townhall Twitter Analysis
Prepared for: Members of the Media Delivered: Thursday, July 7, 2011

Summary of Findings

This report identifies patterns in 25,000 tweeted questions and comments sent to the Twitter hashtag #askobama in the lead up to the July 6th 2011 Twitter Townhall held by President Obama. The analysis assesses the most popularly cited issues by both members of Congress and their constituents at large. The analysis revealed that the most popular topics for questions/comments were about jobs, the economy, taxes, and the federal budget.

Introduction
While members of the media are covering the story of President Obama’s Twitter Townhall, OhMyGov Inc. staff examined some of the patterns in Twitter usage and the public’s questions and comments sent to the hashtag #askobama. Just under 24,875 tweets were analyzed in this report, which encompasses the period beginning at 9:30pm EST July 5th to 2:00pm July 6th.

Tweets by Members of Congress OhMyGov examined patterns in the tweeted comments and questions posed by members of Congress to determine the extent to which members participated in the Twitter Townhall. Use of the platform Twitter to send comments to #askobama tended to be dominated by Republicans. Figure 1 to the right shows the percentage of questions/comments posted by Congressional republicans vs democrats on Twitter to the #askobama hashtag. Tweets were mostly sent from the Republican side of Congress (77%). With one exception (Sen. Orrin Hatch), all members were Representatives and not Senators.
77% 23%

Figure 1

Top Congressional Issues Overwhelmingly, the top issues tweeted by members of

Rep

Dem

Congress had to do with job creation (41%) and the federal budget (10%). A large percentage of tweets were simply promoting the Townhall event to constituents (21%). The budget (10%) and energy & oil (8%) were the third and fourth most popular issue tweeted by Members. The Economy (8%) and small business growth (8%) were also tied for fourth. Overregulation of business (5%) took fifth

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place. Iran (3%), the national debt (3%), education (3%), and women’s rights (3%) were tied as the 6th most prevalent topics.

Figure 2. Percent of Member Tweets by Issue
Jobs Budget Energy & Oil Small Biz Overregulation Iran National Debt Education Women’s Rights
0 12.5 25.0 37.5 50.0

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Constituent Tweets Tweeted questions and comments from constituents ranged wildly in their topics, with many being simply political commentary, crude remarks, or jokes. Retweets were included in the frequency analysis, as they represent someone else’s beliefs or opinions just as well as an original opinion. In analyzing Twitter usage, some interesting patterns emerged. Jobs was clearly the most popular question topic, with 11.5% of tweets focused on something having to do with job creation. The economy was second to jobs in popularity, with 6.6% of all tweets containing the word economy. Taxes (5.25%) and the federal budget (3.4%) were also major concerns of participating tweeters, as was oil dependence (1.11%), the federal deficit (1%), education (1%), gas prices (0.89%), Libya (0.75%), and the debt ceiling (0.74%). Marijuana legalization questions were also very popular (0.85%), and twice as popular as issues about healthcare (0.39%), gay marriage (0.38%), immigration (0.37%), and Iraq (0.41%).

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Figure 3. Percent of Citizen Tweets by Issue
Jobs Economy Taxes Budget Oil Deficit Republicans Education Gas Libya Debt Ceiling Marijuana Democrats Healthcare Gay Rights Immigration Iraq Social Sec Abortion Sex Afghanistan Mexico Medicaid Environment Corruption Middle East Budget Deficit
0 3.75 7.50 11.25 15.00

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Discussion While the results of the study are not surprising in that the most frequently discussed topics in the media were the most discussed topics within this Twitter forum, it is interesting to compare these most popular topics to the most popular topics of 2008. As you can see from the 2008 gallop poll below, many of the issues that were previously of the utmost importance to voters (Iraq, education, healthcare, corruption, terrorism, Social Security) have moved down the list of importance considerably. It will be interesting to see how the 2012 Presidential campaigns form to address this re-prioritized list of issues.

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About OhMyGov Inc. OhMyGov Inc. is a non-partisan, Virginia-based media and technology firm dedicated to improving public sector communications through news and digital productivity tools. This analysis was made possible by the National Science Foundation, which provides grant funding to OhMyGov Inc. to create digital tools to evaluate and enhance communications within the government and political community. About the Author Andrew B. Einhorn is the CEO and Cofounder of OhMyGov Inc. and a public health and communications consultant with a decade of industry experience. Mr. Einhorn heads research and development efforts of a National Science Foundation-funded media monitoring platform created exclusively for government. As an adjunct faculty member at Georgetown University, Mr. Einhorn’s research interests included the application of new and social media to health communications. As a consultant and former Senior Associate at ICF International, Mr. Einhorn supplied technical assistance and social media strategy and support to a wide variety of public and private sector clients. Mr. Einhorn is a published author and columnist for the Huffington Post, and has spoken about his varying experiences on international cable news networks and syndicated radio shows. He holds a Bachelor’s degree in psychology from Emory University and a Masters of Science in Engineering Management from The George Washington University

Available for media interviews.

For more information, visit http://consulting.ohmygov.com or the award-winning political blog at www.ohmygov.com.

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