Category: Twitter


Twitter and Egypt

It’s far from a scientific sample, but I noticed a lot of people in my Twitter feed over the past few weeks lamenting a lack of thorough media coverage surrounding the political crisis in Egypt. Certainly, when the George Zimmerman trial reached its apex, one might have assumed things in Egypt had reached a peaceful resolution, given how little news could be found in the mainstream US media.

It turns out that media companies are pretty astute at knowing what their audiences want to see, even if it doesn’t jibe with the smaller but more vocal Twitterati. Turn on your local network news for five minutes and you’ll figure out the formula: If people aren’t interested in a given topic, the media doesn’t spend a lot of time trying to change our minds.

What about Egypt?

Egypt seems to have all the makings of a sensational news topic, with its mass protests, violence, and intrigue. But do Americans really care?

We surveyed over 2,000 US adults over the past few days to gauge how concerned they were about the crisis in Egypt. Here’s how they answered:

Interest in Egypt

Over two-thirds of Americans have some degree of concern, with a full 30 percent characterizing themselves as Very Concerned. Thirty-two percent don’t seem to care at all. When we looked at demographics, we found that women were much more likely than men to be Very Concerned, as were people over age 45, and those with an advanced education.

This doesn’t tell us much, though, without comparing Egypt to other issues. So, we looked at 19 other issues we’ve studied using the exact same question format, like this one:

Interest in Income Equality

Most topics we follow on a daily basis (for our long-term tracking questions, we looked at results over the past 3 months), but a few issues were timely, like last December’s Fiscal Cliff. We included a mixture of both for contrast.

To develop a consistent “Concern Index,” we took the percentage of people who said “Very Concerned” and multiplied it by two, then added the percentage of people who said “Somewhat Concerned” (this did NOT take a Carnegie Mellon-trained data scientist). Based on this system, the crisis in Egypt would have a score of 98 ((30% x2) + 38%). Income inequality achieves a score of 115.

Now let’s look at a litany of other issues to see how the crisis in Egypt compares:

Concern Index

What Stands Out?

Let’s first address the elephant in the room. No matter how we sliced our numbers, the public health implications of texting-while-driving (“TWD”) produced the highest concern score. These were all large samples sizes, over 5,000 respondents, reweighted to match the full US adult population. So we can’t argue with the numbers. TWD is a big deal to a lot of people.

The next items on the list should come as little surprise. Health Care and Public Education rank slightly above the Economy and Jobs, but within a thin margin of error. Consumer Privacy has surged in recent months, making it to #7 on the list, just behind Gas and Energy Prices.

It’s interesting to note that issues like last year’s Fiscal Cliff and Bullying in Schools rank so highly above Crime and Violence and Climate Change among the general population. Clearly, these numbers might be different among respondents across the socio-economic and ideological spectrum.

We don’t find the Crisis in Egypt until #17, ranking more highly than only Concussions in the NFL and last summer’s LIBOR interest rate scandal. These are niche topics, to say the least.

If the mainstream media is providing little coverage of the Eqypt dispute, they may know what they’re doing. Our data makes a pretty convincing case that most consumers are concerned more about issues that impact their everyday lives, like failing schools, out-of-control health care costs, tight job markets and, most importantly, that college kid in the car in front of them sending a text to his girlfriend.

Pope Francis

The Vatican has taken another step in its efforts to embrace social media by offering “indulgences” to followers of Pope Francis’ (@Pontifex) Twitter account. Italian newspaper Corriere della Sera reports that the church will reduce the time Catholics have to spend in purgatory if they follow official Vatican events on TV, radio, and through social media. One such event is the Catholic World Youth Day, commencing in Rio de Janeiro on July 22nd. The Apostolic Penitentiary, a Vatican tribunal responsible for issues relating to the forgiveness of sins, will award the privilege to the faithful that follow the event using different forms of media. Pope Francis’ followers are not immediately granted an indulgence for tracking the event, with the penitentiary noting that it would hinge on the user having previously confessed and being “truly penitent and contrite.”

Read the full story at The Verge.

ads 520x245 Adblock Plus pens open letter asking Twitter to join its Acceptable Ads initiative, promises happier users

Twitter yesterday filed its S-1 paperwork to go public, leading many to make the rather obvious conclusion that the service will soon have to push more ads in order to make more money (it’s still not profitable) and satisfy investors. Adblock Plus this morning took the news as an opportunity to write an open letter to Twitter, asking the company to join its Acceptable Ads initiative.

For those who don’t know, Adblock Plus stopped blocking all types of ads back in October 2012. The logic behind the move was simple: the company isn’t looking to kill the advertising industry; it just wants to clean it up. As such, certain ads were allowed through to the user.

Here’s the crux of the Adblock’s letter to Twitter:

Your current ad offerings are actually not far from what we’d consider non-annoying (see more below) – but the idea of a fundamentally changed Twitter, now with ads round every corner, may direct users to Adblock Plus for no other reason than that they want their “old” Twitter back.

So why not work together? We would like to partner with you to engineer acceptable, non-intrusive advertising that would conform to our guidelines and make it to our whitelist. That’s right, we want you to advertise. But we want you to do it responsibly, by adhering to our Acceptable Ads guidelines.

Not only would your ads not be blocked by the millions of Adblock Plus users, but you’d be helping shift the paradigm of online advertising away from the blinking, privacy-killing pro-market stance to the clean, privacy-protecting user-first one.

Furthermore, Adblock Plus outlined the five principles of Acceptable Ads, which were defined by its community:

  • Acceptable Ads are not annoying.
  • Acceptable Ads do not disrupt or distort page content.
  • Acceptable Ads are transparent with us about being an ad.
  • Acceptable Ads are effective without shouting at us.
  • Acceptable Ads are appropriate to the site or tweet that we are on.

We doubt Twitter will listen to Adblock Plus, although it’s certainly an interesting proposition. In fact, we believe Twitter should at least take a look and compare its rules with Adblock’s guidelines: if they aren’t too different, it could make some minor changes and potentially make quite a bit more money.

See also – Reddit is whitelisted by Adblock Plus for only using ‘acceptable ads’

Top Image Credit: asabird

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