SOCIAL MEDIA USERS DEBATE A TEA PARTY FAVORITE
Michele Bachmann, the Tea Party favorite who formally announced her presidential candidacy on June 27, created a major buzz in social media last week, registering as the dominant subject on blogs as well as a hot topic on Twitter. Most of the commentary was highly critical.
From June 26 to July 1, fully one-third (33%) of the news links on blogs were about Bachmann, making her the No. 1 subject, according to the New Media Index from the Pew Research Center’s Project for Excellence in Journalism. And in a rare case of the same subject interesting both bloggers and Tweeters, the Minnesota Congresswoman was the No. 5 story on Twitter.
Bachmann was also a major newsmaker in themainstream press last week, where much of the coverage discussed her emergence as a significant force in the GOP field. But bloggers and Twitter users eschewed that horserace angle and instead largely criticized her for what they saw as gaffes and hypocrisy.
The two main storylines that grabbed the attention of bloggers were Bachmann receiving government aid despite her condemnation of government handouts and the candidate’s confusion of John Wayne, the actor, with John Wayne Gacy, the serial killer.
Other stories that were popular on blogs for the week included a piece about San Francisco weighing the decision to ban the sale of pets in second place (17%). An article critical of former vice-president Al Gore’s failure to advance the green movement was in third, at 14%.
Wrapping up the top five stories on blogs were two economic topics. The fourth-biggest was about California Democrats passing an austerity budget for the state (12%). The No. 5 story was about austerity measures in financially troubled Greeceand public workers on strike in the UK (10%).
The economy in Britain was also one of the top stories on Twitter for the week, in fourth place with 9% of news links.
Google’s new Tool is the Talk of Twitter
On Twitter the new Google+ social networking tool took top billing, with 35% of news links for the week. Tweeters were mostly excited about the new Facebook competitor, especially when it came to the issue of privacy.
A June 28 Wired article about how Google+ has better privacy features than Facebook triggered several tweets.
“OK meet you all over at Google+ (shhh! don’t tell facebook),” wrote Tony Blass.
Other tweets linked to a lengthy Wired article about Google+, and tweeters alerted their followers that it was a hefty piece.
“a long & fantastic read on the Google+ team, project & changing company culture,” wrote Jenn Van Grove.
The No. 2 story on Twitter, with 11% of links, was about global warming, all from British publications. The articles included a Guardian story about Prime Minister David Cameron being prodded to end his silence on climate change by a former chief scientific advisor to the government; an Independent article about scientists saying that climate change is undeniably linked to extreme weather; and another Guardian piece on a climate skeptic receiving a million dollars from oil companies.
Most of the Twitter users who responded in this discussion agreed about the real dangers of global warming.
In third place, with 9% of links, were stories about a British government hacking of al Qaeda’s website, replacing bomb instructions with cupcake recipes.
The fourth-biggest topic (9%) was about the British economy, with a government official (Work and Pensions Secretary Iain Duncan Smith) urging Britons to hire unemployed Britons rather than relying on foreign workers.
And at No. 5 (6%), was the story about Michele Bachmann’s husband getting $137,000 in Medicaid funds.