On June 6, 2013, The Guardian published its first story on Edward Snowden and his leaking of National Security Agency (NSA) information. Snowden revealed top secret US surveillance programs before fleeing to Hong Kong. This past week has been filled with news stories both supporting and denouncing Snowden. Some hold him in high regard as a whistleblower simply defending the US Constitution and the privacy of Americans. Others believe him to be in cahoots with the Chinese Government and cite significant damage to national security. Snowden sought to share his story via alternative bloggers and social media, displaying distrust of traditional media outlets, and he was certainly successful. So what does the social web think of this man? Is he a Spy or Hero?
Facebook, Twitter and the entire web has been ablaze with opinions and debates this past week. From outrage to applause, there is plenty of sentiment out there around Snowden. With SAP Social Media Analytics by NetBase, we can take a unique look around this past week’s events and see first-hand the social web’s opinion of it all. Let’s look at the conversation. Click on the graphics to enlarge view.
Here we are looking at a summary of the social activity as well as an hourly timeline of the positive and negative sentiment through the week. A net sentiment score of 9% is positive, but reflects an overall reluctance to place Snowden in a positive light. For most brands or topics, a net sentiment score of 30% is regarded as average. In the timeline it is evident that opinions changed as the week carried on. Snowden sentiment was very positive on June 10th, however as days passed, sentiment started to trend negatively. Could this be because of media influence? Or perhaps people realizing the damage Snowden has done?
Looking at top terms, there is a lot of talk around Hong Kong, where Snowden is currently hunkered down in a hotel. When it comes to positive and negative attributes, there is talk about his work as a contractor for the NSA. This is held in positive regard but he is also labeled as a traitor. Each of these words can be drilled into for deeper social analysis in order to see what people are saying.
SAP Social Media Analytics by NetBase utilizes a Natural Language Processing (NLP) engine which can pull emotions and behaviors and much more out of sentiment. People are thanking Snowden and saying that his whistleblowing is great. Others are accusing him of being a spy and call for him to be brought to justice.
Brands associated with Snowden include the CIA and Booz Allen Hamilton, the technology consulting firm he was working for when he was exposed to the surveilance programs. Naturally, many hashtags were generated to track the conversation online. This is a powerful insight allowing brands to monitor the success of strategic marketing hashtags as well as user hashtags that may be created in response to events or experiences.
The conversation is taking place predominantly on blogs and social media networks as Snowden had wanted. There is a lot to be said about blogs and social media overshadowing news sources. The most influential authors are the New York Times followed by The Guardian. Cory Doctorow, a well-known Canadian-British blogger and journalist, makes a splash in the top authors as well.
When we drill down into the stream of sentiment, we can see the actual posts and the URL which can be accessed directly. Depending on the source, the posts can be broken down by gender, location, positive vs. negative, klout score and amplification. This man loves Snowden and thanks him for what he has done.
This other post highlights the fact that Snowden’s leak is treason and that Snowden has reason to live in fear.
Snowden’s actions have major implications regardless of the various opinions out there. If people weren’t talking about government surveillance before, the conversation has certainly received a jumpstart. Snowden’s story will most likely hit the silver screen before you know it…