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Trending This Week: News Stories on Social Media

This week has been a whirlwind of resurfacing fast food characters, corporate scandals, and surprise (not really a surprise), widespread discussion and analysis over a violent scene in Game of Thrones.


Mad Men came to an end, Taylor Swift launched her catchiest earworm to date “Bad Blood” with a cast of iconic models, actresses and singers in an action movie-esque video, and Memorial Day Weekend which kicks off the summer season for US residents is so close we can (almost) taste the traffic congestion.


Here’s a look at some of these top trending stories on social this week, and see what the social data reveals about what people really think.


Axact-ly What is a Fake Diploma Scandal?


A company called Axact is at the center of quite a scandal — think fake diplomas, intrigue and media giant The New York Times’ coverage has elicited a response from the company itself as well as the internet, in general. You can read the reply from Axact to NYT here.


We looked at data on Twitter conversations related to #AxactResponse for The New York Times and in the past week, there have been just over 14,000 mentions of the hashtag #AxactResponse on Twitter, with mentions spiking on May 18.


AxactResponse summary_BW.png

There are 5 times as many negative mentions as positive mentions.

AxactResponse sentiment_BW.png

Return of the M(a)c Hamburglar, Colonel’s Back Too

In the overall conversation of Colonel Harland Sanders of KFC, there have been nearly 9,000 mentions in the last week.  


Equal amounts of positive and and negative mentions in the last week, and a nominal percentage of total mentions related to KFC’s Colonel Sanders had categorized sentiment that was negative or positive.


Colonel summary_BW.png

Kentucky and KFC have been getting a lot of love in the social media conversation about Colonel Sanders’ reappearance in mainstream consciousness.  

Colonel hashtags_BW.png


There’s a massive skew in the gender breakdown, with 70% of the Twitter conversation led by posts from male Twitter authors.

Colonel Gender_BW.png

The Hamburglar, also revived by McDonalds recently, has seen quite a bit less overall volume of mentions on social media. However, there have been three times as many positive as negative mentions in the last week about the Hamburglar.

Hamburglar Summary_BW.png

The Hamburglar top hashtags show a correlation between hockey and this fast food figure  with #nhl and #babwatch making their way into the top 10 most mentioned hashtags. It can be attributed to the impressions and RTs and Favorites for this image on Twitter.

Hamburglar Hashtags_BW.png

Males are also prominent in the Hamburglar conversation, but with a lower share of voice than the Colonel, 61% male and 39% female is the gender demographic breakdown on Twitter.

Hamburglar Gender_BW.png

Game of Thrones Twitter Backlash

We’ve seen over 13,600 Twitter mentions in the last week within the greater Game of Thrones conversation referencing the specific scene from this past Sunday’s episode. There were over 180,000 mentions across social media platforms and online sites mentioning it.


While people discussing Game of Thrones on Twitter are chatting about a number of different episodes, characters, and topics, “wedding night”, “rape scene” and “rape scenes” made their way into the most mentioned topics this week.


There were also nearly twice as many negative mentions as positive mentions in the general Game of Thrones conversation for the last 7 days, while in the last 14 days positive and negative mentions were more even in terms of volume (with slightly more positive mentions) and in the last month there was 1.25 times as many positive as negative mentions.


The topics gender split shows that on both ends of the spectrum this last Sunday’s GoT wedding night rape scene was being discussed - some key phrases appearing much more from female Twitter authors “[no] longer be promoting HBO” and some more male “Poor Sansa.”


Topics Gender Split_BW.png

Below are charts depicting the top 10 hashtags in the Twitter conversation around GoT this week, as well as the most mentioned topics and phrases in the same time period.

GOT topics_BW.png

GOT hashtags_BW.png

*This Game of Thrones data is based on a 10% sampling. Numbers have been multiplied by 10 to account for the full data set.


Coming up in social data


Brandwatch this week published its free Restaurants, Food and Beverage Industry Report, which looked at the top 50 brands in the industry in an in-depth social index. Included in the study is also a revealing state-by-state US alcohol preference map that had CNBC intrigued.


Summer travel, sporting events, and music festivals around the world are just about to get underway. We’ll be closely tracking the trending stories and news online to bring you the latest in social data every week.


Interested in learning more about social listening and data, have a suggestion for a trending social news story, or have a question for Brandwatch? Visit us here or email me,

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