Social media is a vehicle to share news, often amplifying an unknown story virally to the world-- simply by being funny. Or shareable. Or intriguing. But this week was a little different.
In Philadelphia, a brutal anti-gay attack on September 11 has spurred a different kind of social media activity. I'll be looking at the data behind this particular story which features social media making news.
It's not surprising to anyone that social media shines a harsh light on any and all actions of public figures. The NFL has been facing the social media consequences of off-the-field actions from players in their personal lives. Individuals aren't the only ones weighing in on the matter either, brands like CoverGirl are under attack on social media for being NFL sponsors since the recent events have come to light. Advertisers and sponsors are under pressure to sever ties with the athletic organization, with many issuing statements addressing the issue.
I'll also be looking at the data from what's now known as the iPhone 6 #bendgate, plus the brands smartly adding in their own play on words for competitive advantage, and the infamous return of the pumpkin spice flavor obsession synonymous with autumn.
Citizen social sleuthing; welcome to the era of social Sherlockism
Geolocation, venue tagging, and a history of offensive, anti-gay Tweets led Philadelphia police to uncover three identities for suspects in the September 11 anti-gay brutal beating of two men in Center City.
While #PhillyHateCrime isn't a trending topic (and didn't crack the top 10 hashtags on this topic in the past month according to our Brandwatch data), it's an important topic. In addition to the fact this incident is a serious hate crime that led to the hospitalization of an innocent person, this issue showcases just how powerful social media really is.
Had the attackers not been so socially savvy, they may not have been ever identified.
Social users took to casing out the situation - completely online. To make a long story short, through tracking of images, geolocation check ins nearby the attack during the time of the attack, the suspects were identified and this information passed along quickly to the police.
Among the most mentioned topics in this conversation, it's plain to see "motivated by anti-gay bias" is a main topic with nearly 300 mentions in the last few days as one of the suspects personal Twitter accounts and anti-gay posts surfaced.
Furthermore, social media continues to be the downfall of that same suspect - Kathryn Knott, who has been suspended from her job on claims of patient confidentiality issues. This Storify page has posted some select tweets from her Twitter handle and are chronicling the story.
This is another reminder of the fact that when posting on social media, the world is really listening. If your privacy settings aren't stringently set, things you say and do, and the ideals you portray may come back to haunt you. This applies to the good, the bad, and the incriminating.
Photoshopped CoverGirl memes strike against NFL and beauty brand itself
The domestic violence charges against NFL players have been spilling out into the public over the last few months. Some people, media outlets, and even brands are calling for the discharge of NFL commissioner Roger Goodell, said to have had knowledge of many domestic violence allegations months before they came to light. And doing nothing about it.
A photoshop campaign attacking CoverGirl, the official beauty sponsor of the NFL, has gone viral and is causing a great deal of attention onto the beauty brand and the specific players and teams involved with domestic violence charges. This Think Progress piece delves into the campaign started.
The buzz on social media spiked on September 16, with over 8,300 mentions, and haven't been as high on a daily basis since the original CoverGirl "Get Your Game Face On" photoshopped photos were posted online, first and foremost via Twitter.
In the last two weeks, there have been over 20,000 mentions of CoverGirl related to this topic.
I found the Top Emoticons very interesting, as I haven't come across a "disgust" emoticon in Brandwatch data on any topic up until this point, it's not one that appears very often.
Most Mentioned Tweeters
Most Mentioned Topics
"Cover Girl Ad" has had over 6, 300 mentions, Roger Goodell has over 3,6000 mentions in this conversation, "protest tool" has over 3,1000 mentions, and "black eye is sweeping" has nearly 2,000 mentions. "PR Nightmare" is also a trending topic.
When looking at gender data, I had originally expected to see a much higher percentage of women discussing this story, but it's evenly split with 52% female and 48% male authors talking about CoverGirl in conjunction with the NFL domestic violence issue.
Apple iPhone 6 Plus #bendgate stirs an internet of snark
There was a low murmur about the new iPhone 6 bending in the days leading up to September 22 (10 mentions here, 16 mentions there), when more and more people started chatting about it online. Then the bending videos game and some hashtags were born. On September 23 the conversation skyrocketed (see graph below). In the last week alone (with the majority of conversation happening over the past 24 hours), the iPhone 6 bending issue has received over 75,000 mentions online.
Reuters covered the online phenomenon citing Brandwatch data on #bendgate.
When it comes to who is discussing this iPhone bending issue, it's predominantly male authors (76% to 24% female).
The topics related to the controversy center around video demonstrations showing how easily the phone is bent, and how if the phone is in a "pocket for too long" (nearly 1,000 mentions) it contributes to it, and the fact the phone can "bend in your pocket" (3,800 mentions). Not to mention it can be bent with "bare hands" (over 7,600 mentions). The Samsung Galaxy Note is also a key topic in the conversation with about 1,000 mentions, the majority of which link to videos and discuss how the Samsung phone surpasses the iPhone 6 in the bend test and is a superior phone product. "Note 3" has nearly 4,500 mentions.
The most intriguing piece of this story is "tight pants" a topic that has nearly 1,500 mentions in the conversation. Apparently, choosing between tight pants and an iPhone 6 is a major "hipster dilemma." The word "hipster" has been mentioned almost 200 times in this convo.
Below is a different topic cloud, centered on the two hashtags #bendgate and #bendghazi.
Then the brands joined the conversation.
Lauded as the best response to the iPhone bending discussion, AdWeek gave real-time social media response kudos to KitKat. The confection brand's "We don't bend, we #break #bendgate #iPhone6plus" tweet and corresponding pic has been retweeted 13,075 times and favorited 5,839 times.
Direct smartphone competitor LG went on the attack in a strategic de-positioning move, pushing through their own messaging that their phone flexes. In the succinct tweet, they also jabbed hard at Apple saying that their phone flexes yes, "on purpose." Talk about a one-two punch.
Tuesday was officially the first day of autumn, but even starting in late August, people were already getting hyped for all things pumpkin, especially pumpkin spiced foods. On Tuesday alone, there were over 10,000 mentions.
In the last week, we've seen over 157,000 mentions on Twitter about the seasonal flavor obsession.
Pumpkin Spice is king of the topics, with over 122,600 mentions in the last week alone. Pumpkin Spice Latte (the infamous Starbucks drink recently infamous for containing no actual pumpkin ingredients) is a close second with over 41,000 mentions. There are nearly 1,000 mentions of some online authors' favorite spice girl: Pumpkin Spice.
Some of the more interesting pumpkin-flavored foods being discussed in Twitter conversations include cream cheese, coffee, beer, and oddly enough, Four Loko.
Digging into the data deeper, there seems to be a racial undertone to the pumpkin spice latte conversation. Twitter handle @Things4Whiteppl has nearly 2,500 mentions in the pumpkin conversation, after huge engagement for two of its tweets - one about pumpkin spice lattes and one about pumpkin flavored Four Loko. On a more serious note though, over 5,600 mentions of "white girls" is another trending topic. When pumpkin spice lattes became synonymous with "white girls" preferences in the fall, is unclear, but some of the conversation refers to "basic" girls - loving yoga pants, pumpkin flavored things, and the fall season. It's trivialized in the media (BuzzFeed's 25 Things All Basic White Girls Do During the Fall listicle springs to mind immediately), but it speaks to a larger issue of generalizing and racially profiling.
Sure, women do dominate the pumpkin-related Twitter conversation with 68% share of voice.
The top hashtags in the pumpkin conversation reveal an odd mix of related (?) entities - like #WWE #RAW, #familyguy, and #freerayrice beyond the expected #fall and #PSL ones we've come to expect.
Not everyone feels as excited by the first day of fall and all he pumpkin-related things it brings with it. With over 8,700 negative mentions in the last week, some people are sick of "First day of fall" tweets and want people to stop posting about them and all the "pumpkin crap." And it seems, not everyone is a fan of the pumpkin spice latte, as some of these negative mentions saying it's gross, and tastes "yucky" or "terrible."
Guess the fabulously fall flavor of pumpkin isn't to everyone's liking.
The Power of Social
The influence of social media grows every day, with each new story and every new twist and turn that helps us share, educate, uncover and communicate. This week's news stories on social, and directly coming about because of social remind us what those of in the industry know.
Listen, analyze, and then act. Social intelligence is power.