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Hey Obama, let’s talk jobs – not politics

Barack Obama secured himself a place in history by becoming the first President to live-tweet.

by Alexandre Léchenet On July 20, 2011

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Journaliste et data-journaliste. Je suis @alphoenix sur Twitter et j'ai un blog. J'aime les data, faire des graphiques, les chats et l'Internet.


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Already campaigning for the November 2012 elections, and in tandem with the launch of the White House’s new Town Hall platform via Twitter, Barack Obama allowed himself to be interviewed in less than 140 characters. Thanks to the #AskObama hashtag, more than 65,000 questions were asked (according to Twitsprout).

Before beginning to analyze the 65,000 tweets, it’s worth noting that Barack Obama – once again – stole Segolene Royal’s thunder. Just the day before, she responded to tweets using the #QASR hashtag. Without losing her composure, she responded to a question asking if she was disgusted with Martine:

It’s the unemployment rate, injustice, the growing number of disadvantaged and impoverished, discrimination, etc, that disgust me.

Back to the White House. Among the 65,000 questions, a Buzz Feed user selected the “stupidest” questions (most often posed by Tea Party members). They asked him to produce his birth certificate. Again.

In real time, the White House Twitter Team answered the most retweeted questions. To better categorize the questions, Mass Relevance supplied visualization tools and screened inappropriate tweets.

The most retweeted question was about marijuana (4911 retweets), which was reminiscent of the activism that sparked the creation of the Citizen Briefing’s Book at the very beginning of Obama’s term. The president never responded to this question via live tweet, although in 2008 Obama asserted he wasn’t in favor of marijuana’s legalization.

The analysts took the opportunity to highlight the tweets’ content, which was mostly about the economy and jobs. Users’ tweets were different from those coming from journalists.

Are journalists talking too much politics? Why else would the citizens be asking more pragmatic questions?


Article initially published on the Owni.fr’s datablog
Photo credits: FlickR CC by-sa Geoff Livingston

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