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Introducing the Queensland Election Social Index

Posted In News, Projects - By , and On Friday, January 16th, 2015 With 0 Comments

Election season has come around in the state of Queensland again, and somewhat earlier than expected. As with the previous Queensland and Australian elections, we are of course tracking the social media activities around the election campaign (which launched on 6 January and will run until the election day of 31 January 2015), even if the surprise announcement has meant that we’ve had to scramble to get our social media analytics infrastructure in place.

As in previous elections, the core focus for our social media analytics activities remains on Twitter, though this time we’re also adding Instagram to the mix. For the purposes of our analysis, we are tracking a combination of the key hashtags (#qldpol, #qldvotes, etc.) and keywords relating to the major parties and their leaders, as well as tweets by and @mentions of all of the Twitter accounts associated with local candidates across all Queensland electorates.

But while in earlier elections we’ve posted weekly updates of the major social media trends, this time we’re moving to a real-time visualisation format. Working with the team behind last November’s G20 Hypometer, which was featured extensively on television and in online publications during the course of the event, we’ve now launched the Queensland Election Social Index (QESI):

The QESI Hypometer (click here for full size) combines the Twitter and Instagram data to show the focus of current social media discussions about the election, aggregated by party. Mentions of the major parties within popular hashtags such as #qldpol, #qldvotes and #qldvotes2015 are incorporated in real time, while mentions of the candidates of each political party are added on a slightly delayed basis. Percentage changes are shown on a day-by-day basis, while the volume graph is updated each hour.

A second QESI Hypometer focusses specifically on the two major parties, and also compares mentions of the party leaders, Campbell Newman and Anastacia Palaszczuk, also in real time. This Hypometer (full size here) shows the top trending hashtags within the election discussion.

To date, there has been a notable shift in conversation, from a strong focus on the LNP during the first week of the campaign (at times commanding  more than 70% of the total conversation) towards a greater level of debate about the ALP: towards the end of the second campaign week, the LNP is capturing a little over 54% of the total conversation since the election was declared. Together, Labor and the LNP clearly dominate the conversation, however, with the minor parties recording less than 5% between them. Campbell Newman also remains a far more frequent topic of discussion than Anastacia Palaszczuk, with a share of over 79% of the conversation. In total, at the time of writing the QESI Hypometer has tracked almost 85,000 posts across Twitter and Instagram since 6 January.

Refresh this page every hour or so to see the latest updates on how these numbers are developing. We’ll also post further analysis of key trends and developments over the remainder of the election campaign, and hope to deploy a similar election Hypometer again for the New South Wales election in a couple of months.

The two QESI Hypometers are also available for embedding:

<iframe style="overflow: hidden; height: 700px; width: 100%;" src="http://dev.thehypometer.com/election-allparty/embed" 
width="100%" height="1000px" frameborder="0" marginwidth="0" marginheight="0" border="0" scrolling="no"></iframe>
<iframe style="overflow: hidden; height: 700px; width: 100%;" src="http://dev.thehypometer.com/election-2party/embed" 
width="100%" height="1000px" frameborder="0" marginwidth="0" marginheight="0"></iframe>

Hypometer is a QUT-based commercial start-up which tracks and ranks social media activity around major topics, events and brands with assistance from qutbluebox, the University’s innovation and knowledge transfer company. For more information on The Hypometer, please contact Katie Prowd (k2.prowd@qut.edu.au). For more information about the principles behind Hypometer technology, see the Telemetrics Project.

About the Author

- Axel Bruns is a Professor in the Digital Media Research Centre at Queensland University of Technology in Brisbane, Australia, where he leads the Digital Publics programme.

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