Hello and welcome to the analysis of day 6 of the election campaign. We’ll start off by looking at the top 10 words by frequency:
As you can see, again there is not much to separate the top 10 words. Points to note in today’s chart is that the SNP agenda is not dominating; something else to note, is that by day 6 in the campaign, none of the parties, including the highly effective SNP, have succeeded in getting action words from their policies to appear in the top 10 most frequently tweeted words. If party media strategists are looking at their own numbers, and seeing similar results (and they should be) then they must be thinking that it’s time for a change of tack.
The last three words relate to an image posted by Gerry Hassan which seems to have captured the attention of the #GE2015 stream on day 6. More about that later.
Moving on to the top 10 hashtags:
Day 6 and the SNP still dominate the tagged tweets on the #GE2015 stream. The “CyberNats” really are a well drilled collective, they know how to tag their tweets to collect together a powerful voice on Twitter, it’s a skill honed over the 5 years of the independence debate in Scotland and they are highlighting the amateurism of the other parties in this area. With a comparatively short campaign time, the other parties must learn fast if they are to compete with the SNP; it’s day 6 and they show no signs of rectifying their strategy. This is not all good news for the SNP though, as I’ll highlight later in this post.
Other notable mentions, outside of the top 10, are #the45 at position 13. #the45 refers to the percentage of the voting electorate who voted for independence, hinting perhaps that there’s a belief that a powerful SNP in Westminster could aid the independence cause.
#sturgeon drops down to position 22, the lowest it’s been measured at so far, showing that the attention is coming off of the SNP leader as a personality after the Leader’s Debate and the so called “FrenchGate” affair.
#barinsnotbombs occupies position 24 and it’s the first sign of a hashtag that actually relates to one of the party’s policies, namely the SNP’s policy to have Trident removed from Scottish waters.
Note that #NHS occupies position 23, one above #bairnsnotbombs, but since all the parties have policies on the NHS it’s not possible to assign it to one party over another.
Next we’ll take a look at the accounts with the most traffic to them:
The SNP are comfortably ahead, occupying 5 of the top 10 spots. They occupy positions: 1, 2, (arguably 4), 6 and 8. But UKIP have a strong showing at positions 3 and 7; with the Lib Dems doing best out of the main parties, bringing up the rear at position 10.
So to get a handle on why the SNP are so far ahead in the social media stakes, lets look at the accounts from which the “official party word” comes from; we know the SNP are top of the list, but where do the others come?
The closest competition to the SNP on day 6 was UKIP at position 111, followed by The Green Party at 149, then CCHQPress (Conservative) at 462, and LabourPress at 685, then I’m afraid it just gets embarrassing; Plaid come in at 1,568 and last is LibDemPress at 2,151.
So what about the main party accounts?
The SNP continue to dominate this chart, but there is a good showing by the LibDems; the other two main parties’ showing, however, can only be described as woeful.
Let’s finish up by having a look at the zeitgeist for day 6 in the form of the top 10 trigrams:
The top trigram, refers to this picture tweeted by Gerry Hassan. There are two further things to note about this chart: firstly, it’s not dominated by the SNP agenda (first time in the campaign); secondly, there are still no campaign messages showing up. This is interesting as it shows, for all the domination of the SNP on the Twitter stream, they are no better at getting their campaign message out. They have the “biggest guns” on Twitter, but they can’t bring them to bear where it matters.
So let’s have a look and see where the policies are showing up. Labour and the Conservatives clashed over the top rate of tax, as Labour challenged the Conservatives to say they wouldn’t cut it. “TOP RATE TAX” appears at position 173.
The LibDems talked about personal tax allowances, “PERSONAL TAX ALLOWANCE” appears at position 244.
And that was it for parties speaking about their policies, well it was Easter Sunday. However, for comparison, we know that the three main tenants of the SNP campaign are: full fiscal autonomy for Scotland; an end to austerity and the removal of Trident from Scottish waters; so how did those fair on day 6? The first two didn’t appear at all and “AGAINST TRIDENT REPLACEMENT” came in at position 296, worse than the other two parties.
So it seems, for all their dominance, the SNP struggle just as much as the other parties, but for different reasons. The other parties haven’t yet got to grips with tagging their posts properly, a skill the SNP mastered long ago. Other parties will tag their posts with things like #LabourDoorstep, which is all well and good but if you don’t tag it with the main #GE2015 tag, then how is anyone going to find it?
People who are interested in the election will quickly find the main tag, but unless you know, #LabourDoorstep exists, how would you know to look for something like that?
Consequently, you are only ever posting to your own supporters, and never reaching anyone else. The proof of this can be seen if you look at the #LabourDoorstep tag, it’s mainly Labour candidates and supporters, forming their own little echo chamber and doing nothing to spread the word.
The SNP on the other hand have a different problem. Them and their supporters are well versed in the art of tagging, but their issue is more the tribe mentality of the “CyberNats”. When you look at what they post, they dominate social media, sure; but their posts are all what I’d call “rabble rousing”, it’s all “FrenchGate”, “TartanTories out” and “Project Fear”, if you look for where actual SNP policies start to show up, they’re just as far (sometimes further) down the charts than the other parties.
The naivety of the “CyberNats” is starting to show; during the independence referendum this tactic was fine, as it was a single issue vote, but a general election is a more complex affair and they have to gain some discipline in order to take advantage of their superiority. The question is, can they do it faster than than the other parties can gain some “professionalism” in their posting hygiene?
Verdict: No clear winner.
Well that’s all for this post, until next time, keep crunching those numbers.