After McCain’s strategic (one should say maverick?) choice of vice president, it is informative to look at how the news translated into attention. Certainly, according to BlogPulse, McCain’s choice got more attention than Obama’s.
However, it didn’t manage to pierce the Obama attention ceiling (3.478 versus 3.275).
Before the slip of the radar, I wanted to put out some links to sites that I encountered at PDF 2008.
Managing news is a social media analysis company focused on information diffusion and reputation management. They offer a hosted dashboard and analysis platform.
Ever wondered if that quote the news media is using to punish a politician is really accurate or in context? Ameritocracy has!
Quotes and headlines from politicians, pundits, and other players in the public sphere have great influence on how we think, act, and vote. Ameritocracy lets you find out what is being said, quickly get multiple views and a broader picture, and participate in fact-checking and analyzing public statements.
I’ve written about these chaps before. Linkfluence doing some neat work in the social media analysis space focused on influence, and have been particularly visible in the political space – an area that the US has yet to cotton on to.
In their own words, DebateGraph is “a wiki debate visualization tool, a web-based creative commons project to increase the transparency and rigor of public debate”.
As Craig Simon puts it, ChoiceRanker is “Straw Polls, Instant Runoff Voting, and Honorable Political Discourse”. The site has a neat visualization of instant runoff ballots, like the example below:
Noah Smith and I are co-supervising Tae Yano on a project involving analysis of political blogs, and Tae left a pile of results and code on her CMU web site as a way of communicating with us...world-readable. Surprisingly someone at one of the blogs she spidered, Little Green Footballs, actually noticed, leading to a lot of investigative work in this fascinating thread:
Anyone know what this page at Carnegie Mellon means? It’s some kind of experiment that involves comments posted at LGF, and I have a feeling it’s not friendly. ... comment #5: Maybe it's post-modern poetry, academia-style? Using LGF comments as gibberish to transcend interpretation?
I recall a theme from discussion around the last election in the US regarding the use of code words in speeches. Inserting coded messages in to political rhetoric is a way for politicians to keep closer to the middle of the road, so as not to upset any particular group, but at the same time wink at specific interest groups.
As president, Bush has always been outspoken about his faith, letting evangelicals know he shares their values and vision for America. But he has also been careful. Aware that he must appeal to the center to secure reelection, he employs double-coded signals that veil much of his religious message from outsiders. Biblical references, allusions to hymns, and specialized vocabulary are keys to this communication.
Listening to this clip from Hillary Clinton, I'm wondering if she is getting in to the same game - albeit for very different reasons ('...keep faith with the country...').
What I'd really like to do, is look for any signal in social media to see if this messaging has any effect.
If you haven't yet, please put your ICWSM 2008 paper online somewhere and I'll link to it. Note that we are working with AAAI to get all the paper put up freely on the conference site. This will happen, it's just taking some time.
I wanted to capture a point I made during today's ICWSM panel on Politics and Social Media.
Firstly, politics is about scaling social organization. A premier can't talk to every citizen, so s/he has lieutenant's. They have their own underlings, and so on in a typical hierarchical/departmental structure. Social media, however, is all about individuals - we read entries in weblogs, etc. So, if a politician wants to connect via social media, isn't there some sort of fundamental mismatch? Obama may have 20, 000 followers on Twitter, but how many comments has he left on blog posts?
Secondly, there is the issue of social media amplifying the polarization (or homophily) found in any topical community. Thus, individuals look around at their neighbours in the social graph and see much of what they themselves are made of.
On both sides of the picture, there is a scale problem - from the top down, the politician cannot interact directly with the atomic scale of social media. From the bottom up, consumers (of social media) are faced with an inability to get a broad view of the issues. The solution, I believe, is automation.