PEJ New Media Index: August 8-12, 2011
Most Viewed News & Politics Videos on YouTube
For the Week of August 6 - 12, 2011
1. Footage of the UK riots showing a group of men stealing items from an injured Malaysian student's backpack while appearing to be helping him
2. Footage of Darcus Howe, a West Indian writer and broadcaster, speaking out about the riots on BBC News
3. Video from Russia Today showing patrol cars, a building, and a double-decker bus in flame as rioters clashed with riot police officers in Tottenham, North London
4. Video from Russia Today showing lootings and clashes between rioters and police
5. Video from Sky News showing looters stealing merchandise from numerous shops in Clapham Junction, South London
The Rest of the Week's News on Twitter
The fifth-largest subject on Twitter last week was also tied to the unfolding mayhem in the U.K., at least as far as Twitter users were concerned.
A list of popular sporting goods on the British version of Amazon.com drew significant attention. On August 10, there was a huge increase in the number of baseball bats sold in the U.K., and Twitterers quickly connected the increase to the current events.
"Interesting shift in sales on Amazon.co.uk in response to riots," observed Colby Almond.
"Does not bode well for tonight, surely. Shocking and terrifying," added Hadley Freeman.
The other top subjects on Twitter were all tech-related, most of which highlighted new functionalities for social networking sites.
The No. 2 story was Twitter itself. Much of the attention focused on a web site called Twocation, which allows users to discover where their followers are located geographically.
"My followers live in Indonesia (47.1%), the U.S. (26.5%) & South Africa (3.9%)," revealed Lim Beatrice Tasia.
The No. 3 topic was Google as many Twitterers highlighted a post on the company's official blog announcing that their social networking site, Google+, is adding games.
Another major social networking site, Facebook, was the No. 4 subject as two stories drew attention. One was a Mashable report on a study suggesting that teens who "overdose" on Facebook could wind up with psychological disorders. The other was a new mobile phone application that lets users send messages to others through Facebook. (The same subject was the fourth-biggest story on blogs last week as well.)
The Week's News on Blogs
The 2012 presidential election was the most popular subject on blogs last week, and two campaign-related articles drew the most attention.
One was a lengthy New Yorker profile of Republican candidate Michele Bachmann chronicling her transformation from a "Tea Party insurgent" to a serious presidential contender. Bloggers differed as to whether the piece was a fair representation of Bachmann.
The other was a Politico story that quoted unnamed advisers to President Obama saying that his re-election campaign strategy will be made up of a "ferocious personal assault on Mitt Romney's character and business background." Some took this story to mean that the Obama Administration was anticipating a Romney nomination.
Stories about the Android mobile phone devices constituted the No. 2 subject as bloggers linked to a blog post on Android Police that included exclusive screen shots of the company's upcoming Ice Cream Sandwich device and an Ubergizmo review of Motorola's Droid X2.
The downgrade of the U.S. credit rating by Standard & Poor's was the third subject with much of the attention going to a blog post by New York Times columnist Paul Krugman, in which he criticizes the move and claims the ratings organization is not worthy of passing judgment.
The No. 4 story on blogs was the introduction of Facebook's new mobile Messenger app while the fifth-subject was about Nokia phones including a report that the new Nokia N9 phone will not be released in the U.S.
To see the new methodology for how PEJ arrives at the list of most discussed stories in social media, click here.
This special edition of PEJ's New Media Index utilizes computer technology from the media monitoring firm Crimson Hexagon. Based on an examination of more than 3.6 million Tweets, this report goes beyond the normal methodology of PEJ's index to look at the specific themes and tone of conversation related to the situation in the U.K.
Crimson Hexagon is a software platform that identifies statistical patterns in words used in online texts. Researchers enter key terms using Boolean search logic so the software can identify relevant material to analyze. PEJ draws its analysis samples from hundreds of millions of publicly available Twitter posts. Then a researcher trains the software to classify documents using examples from those collected posts. Finally, the software classifies the rest of the online content according to the patterns derived during the training.
According to Crimson Hexagon: "Our technology analyzes the entire social internet (blog posts, forum messages, Tweets, etc.) by identifying statistical patterns in the words used to express opinions on different topics." Information on the tool itself can be found at http://www.crimsonhexagon.com/ and the in depth methodologies can be found here http://www.crimsonhexagon.com/products/whitepapers/.
The time frame for the analysis is August 6-12, 2011, which is different than the normal NMI week, Monday through Friday.
PEJ used the following list of keywords in a Boolean search to narrow the universe to relevant posts:
London OR UK OR riot OR "police shooting" OR Britain
*For the sake of authenticity, PEJ has a policy of not correcting misspellings or grammatical errors that appear in direct quotes from blog postings.
By Paul Hitlin and Sovini Tan, PEJ