Thursday, 15 April 2010

ITV, Facebook Connect and the social election

As previously mentioned, I don't know a whole lot about politics, so after writing rather to much about it in the last couple of weeks I was far more interested in how ITV covered the first leaders' debate.

The Facebook Connect commenting box was a great idea when CNN ran it for the Obama inauguration in Jan 09, but Twitter has become a lot more important since then. While there was a steady stream of live conversation from the 'everyone' feed, everyone I know who was joining in live was doing it on Twitter. Obviously that's not the same for everyone, but surely there should be both options?

Twitter sentiment analysis sort of got hidden behind the video player, which was a shame as the volume of tweets (estimated at 2000 per minute according to a comment on Question Time) meant that
sheer scale should have ironed out the imperfections in automatic sentiment analysis and averaged out a realistic result.

So live opinion results that were running live at the bottom of the screen were actually from pop-up surveys on the player page - not really taking into account the amount of discussion that was taking place away from the ITV site. Judging from the dramatic fluctuation in results I'd guess sample sizes were low (although there were several sets of results in rotation the 'Who do you think has won this debate' showed Nick Clegg winning with anywhere from 43% - 81% of the vote over a rotation)

These debates are a huge opportunity for the broadcasters to aggregate and analyse the conversations taking place around their sites, and to showcase their own use of social tools to add value to their programming. If I can stay awake through the next couple then I'd like to see how the other stations fare in comparison to ITV.

And my verdict on the debate? To nick a line from @wearenorth, 'Worst. Kraftwerk. Gig. Ever."


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