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Wednesday, 04 September 2013 15:08

Social media shows Aussies passionate about election


Some might think this election's been a bore but social media users disagree, lighting up Facebook and Twitter with Rudd and Abbott banter.

New social media insights into the current Australian Election were derived using SAP's 'Social Media Analytics by NetBase’, a cloud-based solution that quantifies various aspects of online sentiment with a natural language processing engine – and correlates changes in public opinion with campaigns, promotions, news, and other events.

For the period from 25 August – 1 September, the solution was used to analyse social media mentions of Tony Abbott and Kevin Rudd, as well as key words associated with their election campaigns. The analysis included multiple platforms, including Twitter, Facebook, comments from news sites and online forums.

This analysis into the Australian Election showed that while Tony Abbott triggers more comments online overall, Kevin Rudd generates more negative and more positive comments, as well as slightly lower net sentiment.

Despite revealing fewer positive and negative posts about Tony Abbott, results of social media analysis suggest that the online Australian public is more passionate about their views on the candidate. Mentions of Abbott were amplified by a much higher ‘passion intensity’ score.

The analysis also highlighted differing perceptions of the candidates as they pertain to key election topics. For example, while Abbott outscored Rudd in net sentiment on “trust” and “leadership”, Rudd rated higher in relation to “same-sex marriage” and “asylum seekers”.

Thomas Tudehope, a political social media commentator and regular pundit on Sky News said that Tony Abbott had made few mistakes on the campaign trail, and that showed through in his social media ratings.

“It’s not unusual to see this level of negativity surrounding politicians and online commentary. Rudd is suffering in the trust stakes, while Abbott’s thorn in his side is around asylum seekers. Interestingly, Abbott’s rise as a leader seems to be growing with a positive net sentiment, perhaps indicating that the Australian public now view him as having those leadership qualities.”

“In both the public and private sectors, social media sentiment analysis is an increasingly important component of understanding your stakeholders and customers,” says David Foulcher, head of Cloud for Customer and Money at SAP Australia & New Zealand. “With more empowered consumers and more of the buying process happening before the first interaction with a sales representative, businesses need to uncover insights, trends, emotions and behavior as they look to convert prospects not just to customers but to promoters.”

The election will be held on 7 September, with Tony Abbott and the Coalition widely tipped to take office.

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