The latest buzz on Twitter has been all about President Obama’s impending Town Hall tomorrow at 2 PM. As your friendly neighborhood social media experts, TwitSprout has been carefully monitoring and analyzing the tens of thousands of tweets to bring you our predictions and conclusions! [Jump to Word Cloud]
We started tracking the #AskObama hashtag shortly after the White House announced the event, on Friday, July 1st. Uptake was slow at first, but another Obama-related event on Tuesday really started the ball rolling.
We’re currently tracking over 20,000 unique tweets so far (not including retweets!) and we fully expect this number to reach 50,000 before the President begins speaking tomorrow. Of course, not all of these tweets are quality questions — many are just encouraging others to participate. Our gnomes are busy using heuristic algorithms to separate the wheat from the chaff, and as best as we can tell, the President has about 11,000 genuine, unique inquiries from concerned citizens to look forward to on Wednesday. Let’s hope he talks fast!
Of course, in all seriousness, Obama will only be able to scratch the surface of this mountain of curiosity he’s gathered. According to Twitter, the team at Mass Relevance (plus Jack Dorsey) are the ones entrusted with curating and selecting the lucky tweets. Nobody can be sure exactly what their selection process will look like, but it’s safe to say it’ll be some combination of the following:
- Random selection: In true democratic fashion, all tweets are treated equal and have the same chance of being picked at random. While nobody can complain about the fairness, it might lead to some really strange results.
- Sheer numbers: The best questions are being retweeted hundreds of times, and the cream is really rising to the top. The team could select the most retweeted and RT’ed tweets as the questions the most Americans care about.
- Popularity contest: There are many ways of measuring influence on Twitter — whether it’s Klout, follower count, or your TwitSprout dashboard. However they choose to measure it, the questions asked by the most important people might be the lucky ones.
- Politics as usual: Of course, it’s not impossible that the White House has already “vetted” a series of questions from their own talking points, and the team is simply looking for people on Twitter who asked the same things.
We obviously can’t do much to predict the outcome of #1 and #4, but we just can’t resist using our number-crunching powers to see what happens in the other cases. Right up until the event tomorrow at 2 PM, we’ll be making and updating our predictions about the most common and the most important tweets — and posting them to our special Obama Dashboard (coming soon)! Follow along to get the pulse of what Americans really want to know the most.
One thing is clear: there’s something never far from the front of Americans’ minds.
The #AskObama word cloud clearly shows what tomorrow’s talk will revolve around: Jobs, the economy, and Obama’s agenda to improve them. Even the legalization of poker and marijuana pale by comparison — and same-sex marriage didn’t even make the list! No matter how Mass Relevance decides to choose their questions, you should expect to see these big-ticket items make an appearance.
The next few hours…
The half-day remaining before President Obama takes the microphone will be an exciting one in Twitter’s history. Make sure to get your #AskObama questions in before it’s too late, keep up with this blog and our Obama Dashboard for the latest updates and predictions as the hour approaches, and tune in at 2 PM. While you are all out worrying about the country, we’ll be worrying about the analytics!
Adrian at TwitSprout