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Weekly Election Update 2011

We’re going to be tracking this year’s election and related topics as they show up in conversations on Twitter. As the ongoing election meta-conversation keeps developing, we’ll keep this post up to date with our latest findings and insights, so keep checking for updates.

Saturday, April 9, 2011

In the final day of this week-long chronicle, we display 335 tweets sampled from over 16,000 during the entire day of Friday, April 8. Unlike our other word maps, this visualization displays some of the main issues being discussed by the competing parties; ‘health’, ‘deficit’, and ‘democracy’ are seen today. With all the major party platforms now released, this could mean we’re headed for more substantive policy-based debate in the weeks ahead (including the English-language debate on April 12).

Eagle-eyed readers may be able to spot “Arcade Fire” to the left of the large brown Harper term in the middle of the image. The Grammy-winning Montreal-based band said on their blog on Friday that the Conservative party had some ‘destructive’ policies, and the Twittersphere was happy to pass on the message.

Word Map for Canadian Federal Election 2011 Twitter terms with the #CPC hashtag – Click to Enlarge

4,969 Twitter users posted comments directly related to this election and including the #elxn41 hashtag. Again, a significant number of users tweeted once and one user sent out as many as 312 tweets. The following graph shows the number of people that tweeted once, between 2 and 10 times, 11 to 25 times, 26 to 100 times, and greater than 100 times. We can see that the majority of the users – 57.4% – tweet a single time, 4% tweet between 10 and 25 times and 37.2% tweet between 26 and 100 times. Clearly, only a handful of people have the time in their day to tweet more than 100 times on a single issue in the same day!

Number of Twitter users by number of tweets using #Elxn41 hashtag – Click to Enlarge

Friday, April 8, 2011

For the first time this week, we see an 8% day-to-day decrease in volume of tweets related to the election. At over 18,800 tweets on Thursday, April 7 from over 5,400 users, there is still a lot of chatter on Twitter!

For this entry, we want to show the differences between the overall #elxn41 conversation and those tweets relating to a particular tag. In this case, we will compare the entire conversation to #CPC-tagged tweets. Have a look at the image below and you’ll note some of the common words that we’ve seen for the last several days.

Word Map for Canadian Federal Election 2011 Twitter terms with the #CPC hashtagWord Map for Canadian Federal Election 2011 Twitter terms with the #CPC hashtag – Click to Enlarge

Once we pull all the tweets that contain #NDP from the same set of data (and exclude those also containing #CPC), we can start to see that the context of the terms change a bit. That said, one would expect to see a lot more issues relating directly to the campaign of this party. For instance, we can find some subtle mentions of ‘crime’ and ‘police’ in here, but struggle to find anything related any one of the NDP’s platform planks or larger campaign issues.

An additional issues that comes through in this word map is the votenet.ca and @openmedia campaigns, which the NDP openly supported yesterday. Esquimalt makes an appearance because the NDP announced that it would invest in Canada’s shipbuilding industry in the southern-B.C. municipality.

Word Map for Canadian Federal Election 2011 Twitter terms with the #NDP hashtagWord Map for Canadian Federal Election 2011 Twitter terms with the #NDP hashtag – Click to Enlarge

 

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Word Map for Canadian Federal Election 2011 Twitter termsWord Map for Canadian Federal Election 2011 Twitter terms – Click to Enlarge

It appears as though Twitter is becoming a major part of this Canadian Federal Election. Wednesday, April 6 had well over 20,500 tweets which shows fairly significant growth over the previous days. We’re also seeing an increase in the number of users participating in this conversation about the #elxn41. Over 6,700 users tweeted with one user tweeting over 300 times; this person is clearly not a Harper supporter when looking closer at the messages posted!

The CBC did a news piece last night talking about how this is the first ‘social media’ election in Canada, but also talked about how many of the numbers the parties are reporting can be spoofed a bit. In fact, they talked to several consultants which seemed to have slightly different views. One demonstrated software which can seemingly grow your twitter followers exponentially, for a fee of course. Another talked about how there are ways to amass a large number of friends, likes or followers in the social media space. However, this consultant didn’t feel that these techniques would be used by either of the major parties in Canada considering there would be more to lose than to gain.

We are not reporting number of followers, friends, or likes – this blog is simply an overview of the conversation that is taking place on Twitter. However, it’s difficult to know for sure if a tweet was done automatically, by a program, or by a real, concerned Canadian voter!

In this latest image, we can see that Jack Layton and Elizabeth May have sparked more interest as they are showing up much more significantly than in previous days (May and the Green Party are set to release their platform today). Seemingly, Gilles Duceppe (@gillesduceppe) has come in to the picture in a big way as well. It seems that this day demonstrates much more conversation directed to particular twitter users as many entries show messages ‘@’ someone.

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Word Map for Canadian Federal Election 2011 Twitter termsWord Map for Canadian Federal Election 2011 Twitter terms – Click to Enlarge

With over 19,700 tweets, we have a new high for the most tweets in a single day regarding the 41st Canadian Federal Election. Today’s analysis look at the tweets from Tuesday, April 5 also includes a new high for number of tweets from a single user: 254. Over 5,900 users tweeted in this single 24-hour period.

More than in previous word maps, we see that ‘Harper’ is the clear winner for frequency of mention (though we can’t state what the sentiment was behind these tweets). ‘Vote’, ‘Canada’, ‘debate’, and ‘democracy’ fit into the mix a bit more here today. ‘Student’ is also a prominent word due to the continuing discussion of the Liberals’ student-focused education platform planks.

A bit smaller than ‘student’, we can find ‘facebook’ here as well – likely comprised of references to the situation regarding Harper’s staff allegedly asking a political science student to leave his presentation because she had a photo of herself with Liberal leader Michael Ignatieff on her personal Facebook page.

Influential comedian Rick Mercer is clearly speaking about this election a lot as he seems to factor into each word map with his username ‘@rickmercer’. Clearly, his followers are also trying to get his attention by mentioning him in their tweets or retweeting his messages. While we all know him for his great rants on The Mercer Report, his daily activity on Twitter is clearly having an impact!

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Today’s update spans over 17,600 tweets which included the #elxn41 hashtag on Monday, April 4 from midnight to midnight. Included in today’s word map is a sample (351 tweets spanning the day) of the keywords used by over 5,100 Twitter users; some of which tweeted once and some as much as 8.4 times per hour – that’s right; 202 tweets by one user on this topic in one 24-hour period.

At a glance in this word map, we can see that the most common topics mentioned relate to ‘Harper’, ‘CPC’, ‘Ignatieff’, ‘Registry’, ‘Criminal’ and ‘campaigns’. We know that the gun registry is something that Harper spoke about in recent days, so it makes sense to that a word like ‘registry’ would show up. Moreover, ‘campaigns’, ‘crime’ and the RCMP appear to be topics of interest on Monday.

The Green Party appears to be in some of this conversation, while on Sunday, the LPC was more prominent. Take a closer look and see what you find of interest. Click on the word map to get a larger view….

Word Map for Canadian Federal Election 2011 Twitter termsWord Map for Canadian Federal Election 2011 Twitter terms – Click to Enlarge

As with all the word maps we’ll do in this series, references to ‘#elx41’, ‘#cdnpoli’, and ‘RT’ (symbolizing retweets) were removed. Note that common English words have also been removed (i.e. ‘if’, ‘and’, ‘or’, etc.).

Do you see the issues that concern you in these word maps? Stay tuned on a daily basis to see how the conversation may change over time!

Monday, April 4, 2011

For this week, we want to demonstrate a quick way to visualize the conversations taken place in Twitter about the 41st Canadian Election. To do this, we are using a couple tools that will help out (one to gather the data and one to create the visuals). The data is gathered over time from Twitter and includes all Tweets including the ‘#elxn41’ hash tag.

Our last blog on the Canadian Federal Election was a take on what the conversation was about, what were the sentiments of those tweeting on the issues, and how loud was the conversation (i.e. number of people involved in the conversation). With large volumes of tweets, it’s extremely difficult to really get a sense of what this all means.

This set of blogs will chronicle the Twitter conversations over the course of the week with daily entries as a way to visualize the conversation. The word map shown below demonstrates the words being used in Twitter for tweets including the ‘#elxn41’ hash tag with the more frequently used words larger than those used less frequently. This first example is sampled from 15,909 tweets (sample includes 395 entries spread across the entire day) on Sunday, April 3rd (from midnight till midnight) from over 4,100 different users who tweeted between 1 and 177 times in that single day! All told, there is more than 6,000 words in this word map from the sample set.

Word Map for Canadian Federal Election 2011 Twitter terms Word Map for Canadian Federal Election 2011 Twitter terms – Click to Enlarge

 

To simplify this view, and all those going forward, we will remove all references to ‘#elxn41’, ‘#cdnpoli’, and ‘RT’ (symbolizing retweets). Note that common English words have also been removed (i.e. ‘if’, ‘and’, ‘or’, etc.).

Word Map for Canadian Federal Election 2011 Twitter terms Word Map for Canadian Federal Election 2011 Twitter terms – Click to Enlarge

 

At a glance in this word map, we can see that the most common topics mentioned relate to Ignatieff, Harper, CPC, Canada, Tax, Platform, etc. In fact, when looking more closely, we can start to note that ‘Ignatieff’ and ‘Harper’ are similar in size therefore, likely mentioned about the same number of times, whereas in the upper left quadrant we can see mention of ‘@ElizabethMay’ much smaller. In fact, after staring at the word map for several minutes, one struggles to see ‘Layton’ anywhere.

Do you see the issues that concern you in these word maps? Stay tuned on a daily basis to see how the conversation may change over time!

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