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Can Social Media Data Predict the Winner of the 2020 US Presidential Election? A Look at the Latest Trends



can social media data predict the winner of the 2020 us presidential election a look at the latest trends

Can social media data predict the outcome of an election?

It’s a key question many have asked, and have worked to decipher from the troves of user data available. But thus far, there’s no definitive answer, especially when it comes to modern US politics.

Part of that is likely because of the celebrity status of US President Donald Trump, and the way in which he has used social media to connect with his constituents. Trump’s massive social media reach seems to somewhat skew the data – for example, previous academic research has suggested that sheer mention volume is the best indicator of a candidate’s performance, and likelihood of winning.

A study Dublin City University in 2011 found that tweet volume was “the single biggest predictive variable” in election results, a finding that was echoed in another study conducted by the Technical University of Munich

“The mere number of tweets reflects voter preferences and comes close to traditional election polls.”

Tweet volume, reflecting relative discussion and popularity, has been a consistent indicator of subsequent candidate performance – however, that wasn’t the case in the 2016 US Presidential election.

In that instance, President Trump actually lost the overall popular vote, despite being far and away the most mentioned candidate on social platforms.

Twitter mention chart - 2016 election

President Trump was still able to claim victory through the Electoral College system, but the final results showed that even though Trump dominated the social media discussion, that did not translate into voting behavior. 

That, as noted, could indicate that Trump’s status shifts the scales in terms of predictive metrics, so we can’t say, for sure, what’s a great indicator of the probable election outcome. But, for context, here’s a look at some of the current data points, and how the two US Presidential candidates are tracking on key social metrics.

First off, on mentions – according to data from Facebook’s analytics dashboard CrowdTangle, Trump is trouncing Biden in overall engagement across The Social Network over the last three months.

Biden vs Trump - Facebook engagement

The shares here may be most important – while direct engagement with your posts is a good indicator of popularity and message resonance, shares are essentially message spread, and indicate that people are looking to pass on your messaging to other people in their own networks.

Reach is the key strength of The Social Network, and shares are a key element of this – and as you can see, on this front, Trump is seeing more than 5x more share activity on the platform.

Of course, Trump is also starting from a larger base – Trump has 32.5 million followers on Facebook, in comparison to Biden’s 3.7 million. That could skew the data, while it’s also not clear why people are sharing Trump’s messages.

Many of Trump’s comments, like his recent statement about the #BlackLivesMatter protests, have been shared in criticism, which again skews the data. But in a direct comparison, Trump is clearly leading the discussion on the most influential social network.

As reported by The New York Times, Trump has also seen nearly twice as many likes and comments on Instagram as Biden over the past month, underlining his presence, in pure volume metrics.

But, at the same time, Biden has been gaining momentum. According to social media analytics company Socialbakers, Biden’s Twitter account has seen significant growth in 2020:

“In January 2020, Biden had 2,657,870 total interactions, just 8.2% of Trump’s monthly average of 60,518,463. After only 7 months, Biden peaked at 32,283,027 total interactions in August – a whopping 50.34% of Trump’s monthly average.”

Recent analysis from Conviva also found that Biden is now besting Trump in engagement per tweet.

Trump vs Biden - tweet engagement

So while Biden is not at the same level as Trump in terms of overall mentions or engagement, the data shows that he has gained, in relative terms – which, given Trump’s celebrity, could be indicative.

Maybe, it’s simply not possible to expect a candidate to be able to catch up to Trump on volume, given his social media dominance, and as such, relative gains could be the best indicator of performance. It’ll be impossible to say, of course, till after the poll.

The next step, then, is to try to glean insight into how each candidate is being mentioned.

Using the Twitter analytics tool HappyGrumpy, a basic analysis suggests that sentiment around Trump’s tweets is 27% positive and 38% negative, compared to Biden who sees a 20% positive rate, and 40% negative. So Trump is seeing more positive responses, but the divide between the two is fairly close.

That’s somewhat similar to what researcher Kajal Yadav found in her analysis of sentiment around the two candidates, based on Twitter data, back in August.

Trump vs Biden sentiment

Yadav’s more specific methodology actually found the opposite – that Biden is seeing more positive replies, in comparison to negative reviews. But overall, the gap is fairly close, there’s nothing definitive here, and no clear winner in overall sentiment.

Yadav also notes the limitation in analysis due to sarcasm, which is not generally picked up by automated analytics systems:

“So, If a sentence contains a large number of positive words like “greatest”, “excellent” in a negative comment which is written in a sarcastic way. So, it will definitely classify it as a positive sentiment.”

That does make sentiment a difficult element.

That then leaves one other key factor to consider – audience growth, and who’s gaining more followers leading into the poll, which could suggest relative popularity with voters.

In terms of Facebook Page Likes, Biden has seen a lot more growth in the last three months.

Facebook Page likes - Trump vs Biden

So again, a direct comparison on overall numbers is not going to provide much insight, given Trump’s pre-existing celebrity status. But in relative terms, Biden is gaining momentum.

That same trend is also reflected on Twitter – using the Wayback Machine, the screengrabs show that:

Trump vs Biden - Twitter audience growth

Volume-wise, in terms of engagement and audience, Trump is by far the leader. But the trends show that Biden is winning, on both fronts, in relative terms in the most recent period.

So, what does that mean in terms of an overall prediction? As noted, several past studies have shown that volume alone is the best predictor, but Trump’s status changes that, and may shift the results.

With this in mind, and knowing that a direct volume comparison is not effective, it could be that you need to look at recent growth in isolation, which shows that Biden is gaining significant momentum on Twitter engagement, Twitter followers, Facebook Likes. But Trump still dominates the space, and his huge, established social media presence gives him significant capacity to spread his messaging. 

Which is the best indicator of success? We won’t know till early next month, but these data trends could provide some new insight into the predictive capacity of social media for election results.

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Elon Musk reinstates far-right conspiracy theorist Alex Jones on X



Conspiracy theorist Alex Jones has been reinstated on X, formerly known as Twitter, by company owner Elon Musk

Conspiracy theorist Alex Jones has been reinstated on X, formerly known as Twitter, by company owner Elon Musk – Copyright GETTY IMAGES NORTH AMERICA/AFP/File Joe Buglewicz

Elon Musk, the billionaire owner of X, on Sunday reinstated far-right conspiracy theorist Alex Jones on the social media platform, a year after vowing never to let him return.

Jones, who claimed that a December 2012 school shooting in Newtown, Connecticut that killed 20 children and six educators was a hoax, was banned from the platform — then still known as Twitter — in 2018 for violating its “abusive behavior policy.”

He was also sued by families of the victims of the Sandy Hook school shooting and ordered by a judge in the case to pay up more than a billion dollars in damages last year.

Musk had himself promised never to let the Infowars host back on the social media platform, which he bought last year for $44 billion.

But following a poll Musk conducted on X asking whether Jones should be reinstated, to which some two million users responded, he flipped that decision.

“I vehemently disagree with what he said about Sandy Hook, but are we a platform that believes in freedom of speech or are we not?” the SpaceX founder said on X.

But Shannon Watts, founder of the group Moms Demand Action group which pushes for tighter gun laws, said that “defamation is not free speech.”

Musk’s decision comes the same week that the Sandy Hook families commemorate the 11th anniversary of the December 14 shooting, which Jones alleged was staged to allow the government to crack down on gun rights.

Jones’ followers harassed the bereaved families for years, accusing parents of murdered children of being “crisis actors” whose children had never existed.

It also came a week after Musk had responded to advertisers pulling out of X because of far-right posts and hate speech, including an apparent endorsement by Musk himself of an anti-Semitic tweet.

Asked whether he would respond to the advertising exodus, Musk said in an interview with journalist Andrew Ross Sorkin that the advertisers could “go f*** yourself.”

Jones, who has a million followers on X, returned to the site with his first post re-tweeting Andrew Tate, the controversial former kickboxer facing rape and human trafficking charges in Romania, in which he hailed Jones’ “triumphant return”

US media reported that as of Sunday, the account of Jones’ controversial show Infowars was still banned.

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Instagram Launches New ‘Close Friends Only’ Podcast to Showcase Celebrity Users



Instagram Launches New ‘Close Friends Only’ Podcast to Showcase Celebrity Users

Not sure if this will be a valuable addition, or another stream that’ll fade out pretty quick, as Meta stops paying attention to it.

Today, Instagram has launched a new podcast called “Close Friends Only”, which it says will present “the latest on culture – from memes and icks, to fashion and friendship – all from your favorite celebrities.

And they’ve gone big out of the gate, with the first episode featuring Ice Spice in conversation with Doja Cat.

The conversation sees the two stars discuss their favorite memes, their favorite animals, celebrity crushes, experiences in flirting on IG, their juiciest DMs, and more.

Which will no doubt get a heap of attention, and will help make Instagram a bigger focus for youngsters seeking to replicate their idols. But in terms of practical advice or tips, yeah, there might not be a heap there.

But it could be worth tuning in anyway, in order to get the lowdown on the latest trends, from some of the people that are leading the way on cultural shifts.

But then again, as noted, it’ll be interesting to see how IG follows this first episode up, and whether they keep running regular episodes of the podcast with more celebrities.

Either way, it’s an interesting promotional vehicle for IG, especially given that it’s focusing on musicians, as TikTok becomes an even more critical platform for music promotion.

Maybe, then, this will be Instagram’s counter to that, but again, we’ll have to wait and see whether more episodes arrive.

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Who is HRH Collection founder and YouTuber, Alexandra Peirce?



Who is HRH Collection founder and YouTuber, Alexandra Peirce?

ALEXANDRA Peirce proves there’s no such thing as bad publicity, garnering more fans and subscribers every time she posts one of her infamous video rants.

Peirce, known better by her social media pseudonym HRH Collection, has been an internet mainstay for years, and her fame only continues to grow after sharing more of her contentious takes online.


HRH Collection founder and YouTuber, Alexandra Peirce, poses for a photo on her Instagram showcasing pieces from her jewelry lineCredit: Instagram/ therealhrhcollection

Who is Alexandra Peirce?

Alexandra Peirce is a social media personality, influencer, and jewelry designer.

Peirce was born on May 13, 1984, in the US.

She currently resides near Los Angeles, California.

Before launching her famous YouTube channel, Peirce graduated from college in 2007 with a degree in political science.

In 2009, she earned a master’s degree in international business.

While in graduate school, Peirce studied abroad in Shanghai, China, where she says she “fell in love with all things Asian.”

Peirce returned to the US during the peak of the 2008 economic recession, forcing her to move in with her parents.

Despite applying for countless jobs, she couldn’t land a position, leading her to create her YouTube channel.

Peirce post her first video, a “What’s in my bag” vlog where she walked viewers through everyday items she carried in her purse.

Peirce kept the channel going even after landing a job in accounting, posting videos and designing jewelry pieces during lunch breaks and after hours.

Fueled by her growing subscriber count, her design hobby would eventually turn into a full-fledged company, HRH Collection.

While Peirce now runs her jewelry line full-time, she is even better known on the internet for her viral videos, which typically show Peirce sitting in her car, ranting about anything from current events and pop culture trends to hairstyles and holidays.

Her videos are often cut up and reposted on TikTok, where select sound clips go viral.

Some of Peirce’s most well-known tirades include her take on beachy waves – “it’s not the vibe, stop!” – and her controversial views on Women’s Day – ““I think it’s stupid. I really do.”

Nevertheless, Peirce has amassed a legion of hardcore fans and haters who can’t help but watch her scream and shout her opinion on just about everything.

Peirce’s controversial videos (and views) have been compared to other un-cancellable influencers, like Trisha Paytas and Theo Von.

Who else could get away with yelling: “Shut up! Stop being fat! Stop being ugly!” at her viewers, who keep coming back for more?

It seems like no matter what she posts, or how many people disagree with her, viewers can’t help but leave her videos wanting more.

One TikTok user commented: “This woman is actually problematic but my brain is itched by the way she complains because it’s exactly how I think when I’m annoyed.”

Despite – or maybe because of – the controversies, Peirce has continued to grow her social media following.

Her Instagram account boasts 118,000 followers, despite several of her past accounts being banned or deleted.

Peirce’s X account is currently suspended, but that hasn’t stopped the internet icon from sharing her views online.

Her YouTube channel, which hosts over 600 videos, has 449,000 subscribers.

The hashtag #hrhcollection has also garnered nearly 1 billion views on TikTok, from reposted videos to sound bites.

Peirce has also garnered fame via interviews with BuzzFeed News and Interview Magazine, and appeared on podcasts like The Spillover With Alex Clark.

What is HRH Collection?

HRH Collection is a jewelry line created by Alexandra Peirce.

Besides rings, earrings, necklaces, and bracelets, the website also sells bag chains, keychains, ankle socks, t-shirts, and a windbreaker.

On the company’s about page, Peirce explains that the e-commerce site “started as a hobby and has now grown into a company that I’m so proud to call my own.”

Peirce first designed “a Japanese style frosting cupcake ring and key fob,” sharing the pieces on her YouTube channel.

Viewers were interested in purchasing the items, leading Peirce to create La Lumiere, mixing chain metals with assorted crystals to create bracelets and necklaces.

Peirce wore her jewelry to work and showcased her pieces on her social media, leading to steady stream of customers and orders.

From there, Peirce launched an Etsy shop, juggling her full time job alongside designing new pieces and fulfilling online orders.

Peirce states that she is “so thankful” for everyone who helped her along the way, but also offers some practical advice for anyone who hopes to turn their hobby into a viable career, saying she was “strategic” in developing HRH.

She writes: “Many of you guys ask me if you should quit your jobs to pursue YouTube or your other hobbies.”

“To be completely honest, I do not think you should quit your job for any hobby, until you have grown your company into one that can reasonably replace your job – this is very important.”

HRH collection features hundreds of items, with most priced between $50 and $150.

Shoppers can also select items from “Alex’s Musts,” which includes products like a $190 sterling silver tennis necklace, a trio of mixed metal rings for $87, and $59 diet soda hoops, resembling soda can tops.

Consumers looking for unique pieces are in luck, as there is a limited amount of inventory available per item, with many pieces already sold out.

Alexandra Peirce poses with her husband, Jason Locke, and her dog, Ming, for a photo on Instagram


Alexandra Peirce poses with her husband, Jason Locke, and her dog, Ming, for a photo on InstagramCredit: Instagram/ therealhrhcollection

Is Alexandra Peirce married?

Peirce came under fire from both her fans and haters after getting married on June 16, 2023, to her second husband, Jason Locke.

The influencer was mocked for her dress, venue, food, and overall wedding aesthetic.

She was also trolled on social media for live-streaming the event, charging users $25 to watch the party.

Peirce chose to wear a short, white, recycled Zara dress for the reception, while the groom chose to don a camouflaged Trump/Pence hat.

After a small ceremony at Bethania Lutheran Church, a reception was held in the parking lot of the Hitching Post, a BBQ joint in Buellton, California.

The eatery’s website says it is known for its wines and West Coast barbecue, and guests dined on veggies, garlic bread, and quesadillas, among other items.

Decorations were minimal, with few flowers adorning the white tent erected in the parking lot.

Each table did come with a cherry-scented ashtray candle, personalized with ‘Mr. & Mrs. Locke’ in a gothic font.

Peirce then changed into yoga pants before heading off to a local casino with her new beau and a few close friends, keeping the party going well into the morning hours.

Many users took to X to share their thoughts.

Some users called the wedding trashy, while others lamented the party’s seemingly low budget.

One user tweeted: “You had a trailer park wedding” along with a crying and skull emojis.

Another wrote: “how can hrh collection talk about anyone when her dress looks like it came out of a Zara clearance section?”

One influencer even branded the event as “the tackiest wedding ever.”

Peirce fought back, going after her online haters and critics in another one of her infamous video rants.

In a video titled Addressing The Devils, Peirce asks her viewers: “Do you think I didn’t know what my wedding was gonna be like? Like, I didn’t plan my wedding?”

“I don’t like big to-dos. I’m the least to-do person ever.”

She added: “B***h, I could fly to the f**king Maldives with every damn f**king person in my damn family and pay for everyone and not have it impact me at all, you f**king idiots.”

Peirce then stressed that her and Locke wanted to keep the wedding “casual and mellow.”

She said: “I did exactly what I wanted to do for my wedding and I would do it all exactly over again.”

Peirce ended the video by saying: “I’m happy, I’m in a really loving relationship. I basically have everything I want.”

“I have my own business, a beautiful house, I have a husband. I’m really happy right now and you guys are so vicious and mean.”

Then, in her signature fashion, she addressed her haters head-on, explaining: “I get it, because you’re miserable and ugly.”

“And you’re a loser, I understand. Life isn’t fair.”

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