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What Happens on Twitter during Live Events and Breaking News

Not surprisingly, Twitter’s has growing social impact during live events and breaking news. Activity on Twitter during major events in 2012 gave a clear indication of an increasing trend in social media discussions and the importance of data analysis during real-time events.

ImageOf course Twitter’s rise can be attributed to a number of factors but predominantly lies with the fact that most people are now watching live events with a phone or tablet in reach, rather than a laptop. On these devices, twitter is simple to use and, with a 140-character limit, the user’s attention won’t be removed from the event for too long.

While there was an abundance of exciting stories that came out of the London Games this year, one of the most unique was that of Twitter itself. Over the 16 days of competition, Twitter drew over 150 million tweets. The world watched together and reacted together, with the site providing an important outlet for users to collect and exploit data.

The same went for the 2012 US Presidential election where not only did Twitter allow the world to follow and discuss the event, but it created a Political Index; a real-time tool to capture the changing sentiment of its users regarding each candidate. It offered a new barometer to the world, and gave important insights to the organisations behind the campaigns. This year marked the first presidential election since social networking went mainstream and it’s not unrealistic to suggest that Twitter might have played a role in the result.

Monitoring tools like the Political Index indicate a significant need by brands and organisations for social media monitoring tools. With the immediacy and often overwhelming volume of tweets coming in from stakeholders during crises and newsworthy events, it’s important that a brand or organisation is able to respond at the same speed. If you are engaging with your stakeholders through social media, they in turn expect a rapid response when they have an issue with the brand. This 'Twitter Time' is now measured in minutes not hours. With Twitter having the potential to create the perfect storm - high volumes of tweets, all coming in very quickly, together with a stakeholder expectation of a rapid response, organisations need a monitoring tool that can access and view the data as simply as Twitter collects it.

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CrisisVu is a visually intuitive monitoring tool that effectively collates and presents the impact of your Twitterverse in a simple bird’s eye view, allowing 'at a glance' identification of new or trending topics. Yet at the same time it allows users to zoom in to the individual tweet level and respond or manage the conversation directly from the Tweetpane.

An example of an event made for Twitter was Red Bull Stratos, where Felix Baumgartner broke the speed of sound by freefalling from the stratosphere. The Red Bull Stratos website alone was shared on Twitter over 28.6K times, not to mention the explosion of tweets and retweets during the event. The coverage of this event was astonishing, giving Red Bull certain value for money on the millions they spent organising the event. Here are some of the stats earned on Twitter:

• In six days, @RedBullStratos went from 19,488 followers to 230,575
• In almost one day they received 247 million Twitter impressions
• 221,669 mentions across blogs, traditional news, forums and of course Twitter
• NASA took the win with 12,129 retweets for its tweet about the project

The immediacy and reach of Twitter is increasingly making it the channel of choice for stakeholders who wish to have their say, and the increasing ubiquity of smartphones and tablets is making the platform accessible to those who may not have been able to, or perhaps were not interested in using the channel in the past.

We can therefore surely expect to see Twitter playing an increasingly important role in breaking and reporting on all manner of newsworthy events in 2013, from global crises to those affecting individual companies and brands; from highly anticipated product launches to consumer activism; and from celebrity promotion to the management of customer complaints and feedback.

If it's newsworthy, it's going to be on Twitter - and it follows that organisations will need to monitor Twitter more closely than ever before so that they can stay on the front foot.

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