Peeling Away the Layers of Social Data from the #askObama Tweet-up

Wednesday afternoon the White House hosted a Tweet-up that served as a digital Town Hall meeting with President Obama. Participants were encouraged to communicate their concerns about the economy and jobs with the President through the hashtag #askObama. Twitter founder Jack Dorsey moderated the Q&A which was also broadcast via Ustream on

Many of the companies in the social media listening and monitoring space provided metrics around the event to compliment the stats shared by Twitter via MassRelevance. Some examples are TwitSprout, SimplyMeasured, or TweetReach. We decided to take on the challenge to look deeper than the metrics and try to uncover information that could provide greater understanding of the issues – moving beyond categorizing and towards comprehension.

Kristina Kaganer, a Research Analyst at Networked Insights, examined the Twitter conversations to better appreciate the voice of the American people during this tweetup. Her approach included semantic analysis to identify the most popular topics tweeted and then used our Topic Discovery Engine (TDE) to learn what themes were most discussed.

What’s the difference between topics and themes? A topic is a subject such as Jobs as seen below in our Topic Tree. The themes are the dominant ideas that surfaced when people were tweeting about the topic of Jobs. Why is this important? When you begin to grasp the factors that shape perceptions, or create controversy, you’re then on your way to understanding the perspective and sentiment of your constituents or brand advocates. In a political context, this allows one to develop communication strategies that can influence opinion and better articulate a candidate’s objectives.

Our aim with this blog post is to use semantic analysis and TDE to peel away another layer and share the richness of social data. At Networked Insights Social Intelligence is the process of collecting and analyzing information for a specific audience in order to gather insights that build a deeper and more effective understanding that can improve strategic decisions. For us, keyword focused monitoring techniques and automated sentiment scoring can provide value if your goal is to listen to constituents online. If your objective is to discover actionable insights from online conversations we believe that requires analysis and research that goes beyond categorization.

Key takeaways from the President’s #askObama Tweetup:

  • Digital communication technologies are accessible, inclusive & empowering – more than ever before in our world’s history, and as evident in the uprisings of 2011 in the Middle East, people are embracing communication technologies. This phenomenon has encouraged many people to communicate and share information unlike before which has resulted in a new collective voice that can effect change.
  • Semantic Analysis and the Topic Discovery Engine offer greater social insights – semantic analysis allows one to organize and understand social conversations with more detail than alternative methods. This allows one to create social intelligence reports that increase understanding of consumer behavior and improve decision making.
  • The future of digital engagement and monitoring will be exciting – people are increasingly sharing more information as they communicate with brands and individuals online through social technologies. As the trend increases so will the capability to add value to many type of online and offline interactions. Having visibility into those actions to better understand consumer behavior will become vital.

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