Twitter Shows You Why You Need The Social Habit

Twitter Shows You Why You Need The Social Habit

Twitter recently unveiled a fun project, the Twitter Political Index, which purports to show how the fortunes of Barack Obama and Mitt Romney wax and wane in the land of 140 characters. Now, I happen to love these things, and I think they show us something. I’m not sure what that something is, but there is a there there, to paraphrase Gertrude Stein.

There are three things I can tell you about the graph above, however. First: as is the case every year since Taft, the one with the blue tie will win. Second, there is no way that actual opinion exhibits the kind of day-to-day variance that the graph at the bottom of this Twitter metric does. And finally, I can confidently predict that the final margin will not be a country mile within 18 points. Is it possible that Twitter can predict the winner? Sure. But I can tell you this–if we were ever off even in a correct prediction by double digits, it would be a dark day at Edison HQ.

So, these things are fun, and I’ll certainly enjoy watching it every day. But, if you are a marketer in charge of monitoring your fortunes on the social web, what does the 18-point gap between Obama and Romney tell you about how your brand is doing on Twitter? At the very least, it tells you that the raw, unfiltered information you get from your social media monitoring platform of choice needs a little calibrating.

In the case of the Political Index, for example, you might want to know the political makeup of Twitter users, their location, and their likelihood to vote (only one of which is ascertainable through clickstream data). If you are a brand, and you get a “poor report card” on Twitter, it might help you to know what percentage of Twitter users are current or potential customers of your brand (or product category), or better yet–what percentage of your customers actively use Twitter. Knowing one or two crucial details like these is the key to calibrating your social data and weighting their importance up or down accordingly. It’s the difference between recognizing whether you have a brand crisis, or a Motrin Moms kerfuffle. And it’s the key to unlocking the contextual relevance of the sea of unstructured data the social web spits back at us every day.

Answering those one or two key questions for brands–like, what platforms do my customers use, and why?–was the prime motivation for starting The Social Habit. Those of you who have seen me speak know that I am fond of talking about doing the work–and doing your own work–to put social data into context. Doing that work involves asking your customers how the social web fits into their lives. With The Social Habit, we are putting the answers to those questions into nearly everyone’s hands, by making custom questions in our Social Habit research series available for just $1997–many thousands less than a complete custom research survey, and you’ll also gain consulting access to some of the sharpest minds in social media.

We think it’s a winner, and we hope you will agree. Want to know more about the full suite of Social Habit products and services, starting at just $297? Click here to learn more about The Social Habit, or contact us today!

About the Author

Tom Webster is Vice President, Strategy for Edison Research - the company best known as the sole providers of all exit polling data for CNN, ABC, NBC, CBS, FOX, The AP and other major news providers. He is the principal author of The Social Habit. Find him on Twitter at @webby2001


  1. Thanks for the find. Very interesting. Based on your own research, the social web leans strongly to the Democrat side. Even though, I see Romney is up by a good margin over Obama today. Yeah!! I agree, the index isn’t overly relevant without the hard numbers behind it and especially without knowing how much of that index comes from likely voters or not.

    Thanks again and thanks for the website! Enjoying it.

Speak Your Mind