The Pre-Budget Report (PBR) As A Thought Leadership Case Study Methodology and Summary on Collected Data We were

asked to look at how Twitter was used during the Pre-Budget Statement on December 9th 2009. Twitter provides hashtags which twitterers can use as tags or keywords so that their tweets can be followed as part of a theme. There was no “official” hashtag for the PBR but @hmtreasury used #pbr09 and it was the most-used hashtag. Others used on the day included #pbr, #c4budget, #prebudget09 and others. As an anecdote, #prebudget09 was used by the Institute of Chartered Accountants in England and Wales (ICAEW) for 9 tweets and only one other tweet used this hashtag. As a quick snapshot of last week’s PBR, we took a sample of tweets on the day of the PBR. We chose those using the #pbr09 hashtag which, of the various hashtags used, was the most common rallying point for PBR commentators. There are many tools for analysis and for this sample, ours are simple and crude. Most tools will give analysis which varies over time, is sometimes not replicable and is sometimes incorrect or incomplete – this is a symptom not just of the tools but of how Twitter makes data available. Treat with caution. (The @KPMGBudget TwitterID, for example, was used brilliantly well but not always picked up in the primary tool we used, What The Hashtag at http://wthashtag.com/Pbr09). There were 2,111 tweets using the #pbr09 hashtag during this time. 158 tweets were sent before the PBR started. 1,024 were sent during the PBR proper. 302 were sent during the Tory response, and 83 during the Liberal response. 544 were sent before the end of the day. Of the 2,111 tweets, 575 were simply retweets of others and 85 were duplicate tweets sent (typically) by one publisher using different Twitter IDs. 11 tweets which used the #pbr09 hashtag were irrelevant (spam). 79 tweets were personal messages between TwitterIDs rather than broadcast information. This left 1,361 tweets which were effectively commentary on the PBR. Of the 2,111 we deleted 11 – 6 were irrelevant ‘spam’ and 5 were from a TwitterID which was then suspended due to irregular use.

In the overview of 2,100 tweets, we looked at those entities that tweeted the most and those that had the largest number of followers, or community. There are much more interesting deeper analyses to do, such as:    looking at the influence of each Twitter ID rather than just the number of followers looking at responses to tweets – measured by the number of retweets noting clicks received when links were attached.

Volume of Tweets The tweets were dominated by the efforts of the Publisher, Sift, and their publications @AccountingWEBuk (480 followers), @BusinessZone (5,493 followers) and @ukbizforums (4,356 followers) and their staff, @GDyer (413 followers) and Dan_Martin (2,407 followers) who between them produced 179 tweets (8.5% of the 2,100) and reached 13,149 followers. 60 of their tweets were duplicated and retweeted among themselves. BDO used @bdoaccountant (34 tweets and 568 followers), BDO_Cambridge (16 tweets and 108 followers), @BDO_Southampton (23 tweets and 14 followers) and @BDOBirmingham (3 tweets). This amounted to 76 tweets in total to just over 690 followers. Deloitte was the next most active and influential PSO in the sense that its @UKBudget TwitterID issued 22 tweets to 534 followers. The accounting firm haysmacintyre and one of their Partners, David Cox, stood out. Using @davidpaulcox, they produced 11 tweets to 57 followers. Kingston Smith’s less personal and impactful @kspbrteam issued 6 tweets to 42 followers. Lower down the list was @KPMGBudget which issued 5 tweets to 270 followers. One legal firm made an impact - @WithersLLP with 7 tweets to a respectable 335 followers. The PBR “Community” A simple way to define the community is to review the profiles of those who issued tweets to see what they say about themselves. We profiled those who sent more than 5 tweets and emerged with 13 groups. The most active were “politicos”, as we called them. These are individuals who are interested in politics – local councilors, party members and activities who bill themselves as such (318 tweets to 27,630 followers). The group we called “publishers” generated the next most tweets (263 tweets) and had the next largest volume of followers (22,486 followers). “Government”, predominantly @hmtreasury and @UKParliament, issued just 37 tweets but to 21,817 followers. Our group of PSOs issued 240 tweets to 17,234 followers. The software vendors (makers of the Quick Books, Sage and Intuit accounting software) issued 21 tweets to 1,196 followers – a relatively small number for commercial organisations.
The Conversation Group, Delphi Analysis Team