Peter Kafka

Recent Posts by Peter Kafka

On Twitter, the Elections Are Almost as Big as iPhone 4

Not surprisingly, there’s lots of chatter about tomorrow’s U.S. elections on Twitter. But it’s not the only thing Twitterers are Twittering about*.

Here’s the list of Twitter’s top “Trending Topics” for the U.S., via a screenshot I took after 6 pm New York time. Unless I’m missing something (Lily Allen didn’t join the Tea Party, right?) there’s nary a political term there:

The folks over at Trendrr, who make a living sifting through social media for interesting data, definitely do show a big surge in political Tweets**. These three charts show the spike in usage for Republican candidates’ names, Democratic candidates and election-related terms in general (click to enlarge):

Roll all that up together, and you’re at perhaps 23,000 mentions per hour. Which is a lot–but it’s no iPhone 4: On the day that Apple rolled out its latest phone last spring, it was generating a peak of 55,000 mentions per hour, says Trendrr.

Still, this data comes from the mid-afternoon on the day before elections, and we can assume it will increase throughout the next 24 hours. The Washington Post certainly thinks it’s worth paying attention to Twitter during the election: The paper is buying the word “election” as a Promoted Trend tomorrow. We’ll check back in with Trendrr on Tuesday for an update….

*Hope I got that right. **That’s right, right?

[Image credit: Library of Congress via Flickr]


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The problem with the Billionaire Savior phase of the newspaper collapse has always been that billionaires don’t tend to like the kind of authority-questioning journalism that upsets the status quo.

— Ryan Chittum, writing in the Columbia Journalism Review about the promise of Pierre Omidyar’s new media venture with Glenn Greenwald