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  • 22 Aug 2019 12:04 PM | Kathy Doering (Administrator)

    Scams hurt consumers but they also can hurt your brand. Make sure you know what is out there and being said about your company.  Some scams are getting harder to identify. 

    Posted on August 13, 2019 by eChatter

    scams and the web

    It seems the internet will never be completely free of scams, fake ads, and outlandish claims by companies and the products they sell. And 2019 is proving to be no different. Here’s the latest on what to look out for when browsing the web, scrolling your Facebook news feed, and clicking on those enticing ads.

    1) Although Facebook has pledged to get tough on scammers, millions of users are still being targeted by fraudsters. Harry Rose, editor of Which? magazine, said: “Facebook has promised to tackle scams head-on so we’re disappointed that it took them a full 24 hours to remove our falsified ad, despite many comments flagging that it was fake.” Facebook and other tech companies urgently need to put systems in place to ensure their millions of users are protected from scams that could see them conned out of substantial sums.” A Facebook spokesman said: “We are taking action to stop fraud wherever it appears, and will continue to adapt to the increasingly sophisticated techniques fraudsters use to con people.

    Just remember the old adage, if it seems too good to be true it probably is. And follow these rules:

    • If an ad is endorsed by a celebrity, do not assume it is genuine.
    • Never use a financial service advertised on social media without checking their background.
    • Avoid filling out quizzes or surveys that ask you for personal details. They could be used to commit ID fraud, or target you with follow-up scams.
    • Do not click, like or share posts you are unsure of. Opening links or downloading attachments could risk installing a virus on your computer.
    • Be wary of unusual messages from friends if they contain links to “too good-to-be-true” offers or ask for money – even if the message has been sent via Facebook Messenger. A change in your friend’s style of writing is also a likely sign that it’s not them. Always contact your friend privately to check.
    • Check your privacy settings and limit what is publicly visible. Facebook sets your friends list to “public” by default. So if a scammer creates a convincing copy of your account, it’s easier for them to target people on your friends list. Use Facebook’s privacy settings to change it to private or “friends only” instead.
    • If you spot a suspicious post on Facebook, report it. Click on the three dots in the top right hand corner of the post and select “Give feedback”.


  • 16 Aug 2019 7:47 AM | Kathy Doering (Administrator)

    In this digital era, social media had made each and every person a storyteller, with the ability to share their lives with the push of a button. This poses the unique opportunity for brands to become a milestone in the life story of their audience.

    Brand storytelling on social media influences customers by increasing brand awareness, reach and attracting new followers. Your story is how your company will be remembered by customers. When you tell your brand narrative on social media in a way that resonates with the right customers – the customers who will actually use your product and services – the follows, clicks, tweets, or likes will come.

    Allow your customers to become part of your story

    It seems nowadays if you don’t post a picture or status update of an event or personal experience, it didn’t happen. “Who has gone to an experience so they could take a picture of it and post it on social media? Pics or it didn’t happen?” asks Maya Peterson, Director, Culture and Creative Insights at Viacom Velocity. She adds that “when you understand how much your audience experiences because of social media, you have an opportunity to connect with them more meaningfully.”

    A great example is Shinola, who creates connections to its community with user generated content. When a customer purchases a watch from Shinola, the brand invites the customer to share the watch on social media with #MyShinola. There have been 12,400 posts with #MyShinola on Instagram alone. Inviting your customers to be part of your brand is an excellent way to get them engaged on social media. Intrepid Travel focuses on small group adventure travel. They post travel images from their past customers on Facebook to show prospective travelers how awesome a travel experience can be with Intrepid. By using a hashtag that involves your customers or featuring your customers’ photos, they can help tell the story of your brand.

    Focus on the whole experience

    When 52% of young people say that the most amazing brand experience changes their perspective, it can be easy for brands to solely focus on creating that one viral moment as opposed to a representation of themselves online. This can lead to audiences feeling like there’s a brick wall between them and the brand – a disconnect. Boye Fajinimi, Co-Founder and President of The Future Party, believes that experience should be part of the story. “By highlighting the five senses and that, if a person is able to interact – touch, taste and hear – as part of the experience, then the desire to share it online will be more organic and purposeful”, he says.

    Your brand’s story needs to be told in a way that involves your customers and your community to make people feel like they are part of your brand story and connected to your brand. If you’ve got content, share it. If your company helps the community, make it known. Always involve your customers in your brand in as many ways as you can and as often as possible.


  • 6 Aug 2019 5:34 PM | Kathy Doering (Administrator)

    August 1, 2019

    By: Diane Stirling 
    (315) 443-8741

    School of Information Studies Associate Professor Lu Xiao has been recognized for research that employs multiple methodologies to examine the factors surrounding a comment’s persuasive power on social media, and the ability of those comments to change viewpoints that have been expressed online.

    Lu Xiao

    Lu Xiao

    Xiao and co-author Taraneh Khazaei, of Microsoft in Toronto, were chosen for the “Best Methods Paper” award at the 10th International Social Media & Society Conference held in Toronto recently. Their paper, “Changing Others’ Beliefs in Social Media: Online Comments’ Persuasiveness,” was selected for its comprehensive analysis methods and the variety of analyses used in evaluating central questions around the factors that influence the persuasiveness of comments posted online.

    The research involves discussion comments posted on a sub-Reddit forum, “Change My View.”  It explores different dimensions of the language used, the structure of the comments made, attributes of users, and other factors that contribute to a comment’s persuasive value, according to Xiao. Specifically, she says, the examination looked at these aspects of the conversations: 

    • The relevance between the comment and the view it changed
    • The relative position of the comment in the online discussion
    • The psychological attributes (emotional tone) of the comment
    • The use of function words
    • The level of writing sophistication and the comprehensibility of the comment
    • The status of the commenter in the online environment.

    The research project also investigates the reasons why online users were persuaded to change their opinions. The analysis uses an online natural language processing tool to look at the specific language used, but also takes into account several other aspects of the discussion. Findings were linked to earlier research on persuasion and belief change in traditional forms to seek to uncover when and how those factors apply to online persuasion in conversations.

    “We looked at the inference of comments, their order of discussion, and at users’ credibility scores. We also did a statistical analysis when comparing comments of different groups. We measured the relevance between the original comment submission and subsequent comments, then sorted the comments on the original post based on how relevant they were. That ranking was then used for further analysis,” Xiao notes.

    Lu Xiao accepting the award at the International Social Media & Society Conference

    Lu Xiao accepting the award at the International Social Media & Society Conference with colleague and iSchool Professor Jeff Hemsley

    There has been an increasing interest in studying online persuasion, notes Xiao. “We hope to examine whether there are indicators and features that we can identify from those online users’ digital tracers and the online environments that can signify whether a comment is persuasive. If we can do that, we can improve the tool we’ve developed to signal whether a particular comment is powerful and whether it is persuasive or not persuasive,” she says. The persuasion analysis tool is available to the public online at https://persuasiontool.herokuapp.com/

    The practical value of the study comes from the insights it can yield into how to write effectively in the online environment, and whether writing effectively is the same or different when the information is conveyed in online and offline environments, Xiao says. While the analysis presented in this paper is useful to assess persuasiveness in this situation, it applies only to the particular discussions referenced and as they occurred on the Reddit platform. Other conversations on other social platforms may present different comparisons, she adds. Previously, Xiao’s research looked at online persuasion factors in Wikipedia discussions. Next, she hopes to examine other online environments and platforms, such as the comments left on the review site, Yelp.

    The conference is an annual gathering of leading social media researchers from around the world. Organized by the Social Media Lab at Ted Rogers School of Management at Ryerson University, the conference showcases research from scholars working in many fields, including management, communication, computer science, education, journalism, information science, political science, and sociology.


  • 2 Aug 2019 10:47 AM | Kathy Doering (Administrator)

    AUGUST 2, 2019 by Kerry Flynn

    When YouTube Kids launched in 2015, media buyers were intrigued by the opportunity to advertise to kids in a safe environment. Four years later, even with the scandal of violent Elsa, advertisers within the kids’ demo are still putting ad dollars behind YouTube Kids.

    A brand exec who buys ads on YouTube Kids said the platform allows kid-focused clients to reach the right audience safely online since children can’t be on social networks. YouTube Kids is not bucketed in the social budgets since it doesn’t have a community or comments, the executive said.

    “Advertising on YouTube comes with trade-offs, scale versus kids. Kids and social don’t really mix. Kids are either not on social platforms or they’re not supposed to be on social platforms,” the executive said.

    Indeed, kids love YouTube. But they aren’t supposed to be there. As one media executive said, “On [regular] YouTube, if you’re under 13, you don’t exist. You probably don’t have your own account. You’re watching on your parents’. But the amount of kids’ usage of main YouTube is vastly, dramatically under-reported.”

    YouTube Kids was YouTube’s way of serving that audience while obeying the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act (COPPA). YouTube Kids was YouTube’s attempt to build a platform designed for children as opposed to assuming that all users were over 13, said Dylan Collins, CEO of SuperAwesome, a company that focused on kid-safe tools and technology.

    “The challenge faced by YouTube and a lot of the older technology platforms is they were simply not designed to accommodate the sheer volume of children using the internet today,” Collins said. “Google is an incredibly successful business engine that is entirely based on one type of internet user, an adult. Adapting this model to children requires them to do the opposite of everything they’ve scaled, going from maximum data to zero data, which is really difficult to do.”

    At launch, YouTube Kids would include content specifically intended for children and be supported by age-appropriate ads. As Bloomberg reported in June, YouTube considered making YouTube Kids completely curated and subscription-only but opted for algorithmically sorted and supported by advertising. Unsurprisingly, scandals emerged due to YouTube’s unwillingness to vet all of the videos. In October 2017, Mashable revealed the unsafe, even violent, content that appeared on YouTube Kids.

    In the wake of those reports, YouTube said it’s worked to curb the problem by introducing more curation and parental control. But YouTube’s systems aren’t foolproof, as it described in a blog introducing new parental controls on YouTube Kids: “We work hard to make videos in the app family-friendly, but no system is perfect.” Last month, the Federal Trade Commission reportedly agreed on a multibillion-dollar settlement with YouTube due to COPPA violations. YouTube declined to comment on the FTC settlement.


  • 24 Jul 2019 10:04 AM | Kathy Doering (Administrator)

    Written by: Jimmy Matorin, Business Catalyst at SMARTKETING

    I recognize I have two full time jobs. My primary job is leading my company SMARTKETING, a food marketing company that specializes in the food-away-from-home channel. My second job is keeping up with the transformation of marketing. Thanks to being a member of the Advisory Board of the SMRA, I have written some guest posts about the value of consumer targeting, influence marketing, social sharing, etc., etc., etc. The one common denominator throughout the transformation of marketing is building a community (a.k.a. Tribe) around your brand via inbound marketing.

    A Brief History Lesson: For the records, the concept of inbound marketing was coined back in 2005 by Brian Halligan, co-founder and CEO of HubSpot, a marketing and sales company. It is a marketing process utilizing tools like content marketing, social media movements, SEO, webinars, etc. making it possible for consumers to find the products/services they need. It took nearly a decade before inbound marketing gained traction. It continues to evolve as companies fine tune their marketing content focusing on resolving problems and connecting with their community. Note: Research indicates that approximately half of the buyers absorb three to five pieces of content during their purchasing journey. Consequently, brands are educating their customers through stories, videos, blogs, social media, podcasts and events. When my company works with a client developing an inbound B2B marketing strategy, we strongly recommend refreshing their current website which most probably is stale. Websites are the hub of the wheel for inbound B2B marketing.

    According to a recent Forrester survey of B2B marketers (500 plus), most indicated that their company’s website is the most effective tool for building awareness and generating demand. More effective than digital advertising, SEO, online engagement via social media platforms and events. However, after evaluating numerous websites of the survey respondents across 12 B2B industries, the research firm concluded a majority of the sites needed refreshment, specifically as it related to user-friendly, relevant and engaging/interactive content. Forrester recommended marketers solicit feedback from their customers and organize their content marketing plans accordingly to best meet the needs of their target audience (a.k.a. buyers).

    Are you ready to refresh the hub of the wheel for your future B2B content marketing initiatives?

  • 18 Jul 2019 3:11 PM | Kathy Doering (Administrator)

    News on the outlook of Social Media Monitoring Tools future market reach...

    Salesforce, Oracle, Lithium Technologies, Hootsuite, Sysomos

    Social Media Monitoring Tools Social Media Monitoring Tools

    The Global Social Media Monitoring Tools Market research provides a basic overview of the industry including definitions, classifications, applications and industry chain structure. The market Report also calculate the market size, the report considers the revenue generated from the sales of This Report and technologies by various application segments. The report delivers a comprehensive overview of the crucial elements of the market and elements such as drivers, current trends of the past and present times, supervisory scenario & technological growth.

    Social Media Monitoring Tools market size to Reach USD 9.2 billion in 2018 to USD 17.7 billion by 2025, at a Compound Annual Growth Rate (CAGR) of 14.1% during the forecast period.

    Social Media Monitoring Tools is a software equipped with various functionalities for tracking, listening, and gathering relevant content across various social media networks.

    Increasing investments on digital advertising, rising dependency on social media advertising tools to reach customers, increasing focus on understanding customer preference on particular products, and growing trend on delivering personalized content based on current trends accelerates the growth of global Social Media Monitoring Tools market.

    Key Companies Analysis of Social Media Monitoring Tools Market Report: Salesforce, Oracle, Lithium Technologies, Hootsuite, Sysomos, Union Metrics, Klout, BuzzSumo, Webtrends, Zoho and Others.

    Click the link to get a Free Sample Copy of the Report:

    https://www.marketinsightsreports.com/reports/07161360665/global-social-media-monitoring-tools-market-size-status-and-forecast-2019-2025/inquiry?Mode=31       

    Global Social Media Monitoring Tools Market Size Growth Rate by Type (2014-2025):

    Software Platform

    Professional Service

    Managed Services

    Global Social Media Monitoring Tools Market Share by Application (2014-2025):

    Retail & Consumer Goods

    Education

    BFSI

    Media & Entertainment

    Telecommunication

    Travel & Hospitality

    Others        

    Development policies and plans are discussed as well as manufacturing processes and cost structures. This report also states import/export, supply and consumption figures as well as cost, price, revenue and gross margin by regions (United States, EU, China and Japan), and other regions can be added.

    Browse the Full Report description and TOC (Up to 30% Discount)

    https://www.marketinsightsreports.com/reports/07161360665/global-social-media-monitoring-tools-market-size-status-and-forecast-2019-2025?source=industryreports24&Mode=31                                        

    The key insights of the Social Media Monitoring Tools Market report:

    • The report provides key statistics on the market status of the Social Media Monitoring Tools market manufacturers and is a valuable source of guidance and direction for companies and individuals interested in the industry.
    • The report provides a basic overview of the industry including its definition, applications and manufacturing technology.
    • The Social Media Monitoring Tools market report presents the company profile, product specifications, capacity, production value, and 2014-2019 market shares for key vendors.
    • The total market is further divided by company, by country, and by application/type for the competitive landscape analysis.
    • The report estimates 2019-2025 market development trends of Social Media Monitoring Tools Market.
    • Analysis of upstream raw materials, downstream demand and current market dynamics is also carried out
    • The report makes some important proposals for a new project of Social Media Monitoring Tools Industry before evaluating its feasibility.


  • 9 Jul 2019 11:53 AM | Kathy Doering (Administrator)

    Our friends from Talkwalker and Social Intelligence Lab came together to create an awesome infographic! Check it out below:

    AUTHOR: Meg Carpenter@Talkwalker

    Social data - raw insights collected from users’ social media activity - is key to helping you understand how to improve your social media performance, and maximize your digital marketing efforts. Every 'Like', every share, every click-through on your social posts means something, and the more you understand about such activity, the better you can focus your efforts on the processes which will ultimately drive your business' bottom line.

    But how are businesses actually using social intelligence, and what are the key trends to be aware of in the rising social data space?

    The teams from Social Intelligence Lab and Talkwalker recently partnered up to conduct a new report on "The State of Social Intelligence", in which they surveyed industry experts to get a better sense of how social data and analytics are being used to optimize performance.

    The report (which you can download here) includes some interesting trend insights, which may help to guide your own thinking and approach on social data usage - check out the infographic below for some of the key findings.  



  • 3 Jul 2019 12:19 PM | Kathy Doering (Administrator)

    Great new study from Social Media Examiner. Well worth the 5 minute read!

    Author: Elaine Fogel @elaine_fogel

    May 10, 2019

    Social media is one of the most popular marketing channels existing today. Yet, some business and organization leaders have questioned how effective it is in reaching their marketing objectives. Is it worth the financial and human resources investment?

    The newly released 2019 Social Media Marketing Industry Report from Social Media Examiner provides us with some insight on social media usage and behavior. The study surveyed more than 4,800 marketers with the goal of understanding how they’re using social media to grow and promote their businesses.

    Increased exposure and traffic are the top social media marketing benefits for the past five years. Increased exposure grew to 93% from 87% in 2018 and increased traffic improved to 87% from 78% last year demonstrating that positive results are possible even in a crowded social media landscape.

    The next two important increases:

    • Generated leads increased to 74% from 64%.
    • Improved sales rose to 72% from 53%.

    Even though Facebook and Instagram are the top two platforms used by marketers, it’s worth noting that Instagram grew from 66% to 73% and Twitter fell from 62% to 59%.

    Facebook is number one for both B2C and B2B marketers, however, when separating B2C and B2B responses, the number two spot for B2C is Instagram at 78% while B2B's second spot is LinkedIn at 80%.

    Overall, YouTube is still the number one video channel marketers prefer, with Facebook's native videos coming in second. When the study separated B2C and B2B responses, B2C marketers use more Instagram stories and Facebook native video while B2B marketers use more LinkedIn native video.

    Of the platforms marketers regularly use for social media ads, Facebook is way ahead of the other contenders. However, when separating B2C and B2B, the study shows that B2C marketers are more likely to use Facebook and Instagram ads while B2B marketers are using more LinkedIn ads.

    As with many studies of this nature, I always question the ROI (return on investment) for marketing activities. Is social media marketing worth the financial and human resources investment?

    Even though we see some ROI results in the first chart, “Benefits of social media marketing,” this next chart demonstrates how marketers need to uptheir measurement activities.

    In response to the study's question, “I am able to measure the return on investment (ROI) for my organic social media activities,” only 44% agreed they were able to measure their organic social activities. This is a challenge that has plagued marketers for years. 

    Social media marketing is a necessity in most marketing mixes today. Yet, the return on investment still eludes many of us. 



  • 28 Jun 2019 1:03 PM | Kathy Doering (Administrator)

    Here we go! Wonder if Social Media Research will indicate who the Democrat nominee will be....


    BY ANTHONY COSPITO 4 MINUTE READ

    Unlike any election before it, 2016 was a wake-up call for the role of social media in politics. This time around, voters and candidates alike have their eyes wide open to the promise and the peril these platforms can bring. That said, which Democratic candidates among the myriad running for election in 2020 are the stars of social?

    To find out, we at Moving Image & Content sorted the top six 2020 Democratic candidates for president by the unique donors and qualifications for debate, then ranked them by reach, growth, engagement, and activity online from April 25th to May 25th. Our results revealed the following contenders (in alphabetical order): former vice president Joe Biden, Pete Buttigieg (D-IN), Kamala Harris (D-CA), Amy Klobuchar (D-MN), Bernie Sanders (D-VT), and Elizabeth Warren (D-MA).

    While their approaches to social vary, all share a hyper-focus on Facebook—and with good reason. Yes, teens have left the platform in droves and fake news can still be found there, but 74% of U.S. adults continue to use the social network daily, according to Pew Research, making it an ideal proxy political platform for the 2020 nomination.

    Sanders is running a full-court press across Facebook. He’s currently leading in audience size with 5 million followers according to proprietary data by social analytics platform Rival IQ, and posting an average of 14 times a day on the platform. That’s three times more than any other candidate. But it’s not just the volume of posts that’s getting attention, it’s what he talks about that’s sparking a reaction. Surprisingly the loudest voice on the abortion ban isn’t Warren, Harris, or Klobuchar–it’s Sanders. His posts get more “angry” reactions than any other candidate (reactions that relate to the content of the post, not to Sanders himself) sparking waves of passionate conversation among family and friends. This is exactly what the Facebook algorithm favors and rewards.

    Also coming in strong is “Uncle Joe” Biden with his recent entry into the race. If the love Facebook users are showing for Biden’s announcement is any indication of where the polls are headed, Sanders better prepare for battle. Biden’s campaign announcement post got 15,000 “love” reactions–more than any of the other top six candidates. How voters interact with content is measured by engagement, including reactions, comments, and shares. This is arguably the most important metric for brands and politicians alike. While views of a post can be purchased, engagement cannot.

    Sanders leads in total engagement on Facebook at 3 million interactions, followed by Warren, Harris, Buttigieg, Biden, and Klobuchar. In terms of growth, however, the picture changes. When Biden entered the race, it fueled engagement growth of 2,890% compared to Warren (62%), Klobuchar (39%), and Sanders (12%). Looking at post comments, Biden leads growth at 1,700% compared to 32% from Elizabeth Warren and 8% from Sanders.

    In post shares, we see a similar story. Biden is up 8,000%, compared to Warren at 29% and Sanders at 14%. Biden currently has a 9-point lead over Sanders in share-of-voice across Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and YouTube according to proprietary data from social listening platform Synthesio. Biden’s lead also shows an upward trend of 2.4% compared to Sander’s shrinking share-of-voice from 48% to 25% after Biden entered the race. Though Biden is clearly benefitting from the momentum, his challenge will be maintaining this level of growth. Buttigieg shows the largest loss in share-of-voice among the six at -6.48, which is a clear wake-up call for the candidate to change things up.

    Given the rising popularity of Instagram, candidates performing well here have a shot at winning over younger audiences. In terms of followers, Sanders leads at 3 million, followed by Harris at 1.7 million, Warren at 1.4 million, and Biden at 1.3 million. Sanders also leads in total engagement there, due in part to his strategic use of Instagram Stories content over the feed. This is a strategy both Warren and Harris share, helping them rank second and third in Instagram engagement respectively.

    Although Twitter reaches fewer voters than Facebook or Instagram, Trump has raised its profile as a platform for all things politics. Sanders leads here in followers, while Warren tweets the most and shows the strongest engagement overall. Sanders’ focus on social issues continues on Twitter. His tweet, “Abortion is a constitutional right” received the most engagement, outpacing top tweets from Warren and Harris about Attorney General Barr’s handling of the Mueller report. Biden’s announcement tweet ranked fourth in engagement, receiving over 30k retweets.

    Social performance metrics aside, how do the candidates fare in the friendliness factor? Examining positive and negative sentiment, Biden dominates both, indicating strong word of mouth and a healthy level of debate, followed closely by Warren and Sanders.

    As constituents, we need to hold our elected officials (and those running to become elected officials) to their promises, challenge proposed policies, and use social media to press them publicly on the issues that matter most. This empowers us to strengthen our democracy and leverage social media to fuel public discourse, not destroy it.

    Given the candidates’ current performance in these early days, a battle between Sanders and Biden appears to be brewing, with Warren keeping both on their toes.

    While the race continues to narrow, having a better understanding of how the candidates use social media in their quest for the nomination enables us to confidently consider our vote, phone in hand, eyes wide open.

    Anthony Cospito is the head of strategy at Moving Image & Content.


  • 26 Jun 2019 2:29 PM | Kathy Doering (Administrator)

    Interesting study by Stanford on School Shootings and Tweets from Politicians. 

    by Alex Shashkevich, Stanford University

    Analyzing the tweets of Republicans and DemocratsDora Demszky. Credit: Csenge Török

    New Stanford linguistics research has analyzed how Republicans and Democrats use different language when discussing mass shootings on social media and found that Republicans talk more about the shooter and Democrats focus more on the victims.

    Focusing on posts shared on the social media platform Twitter, the researchers found that Republicans tended to concentrate on breaking news reports and on event-specific facts in their tweets while Democrats centered on discussing potential policy changes, according to the new study, presented at a computational linguistics conference in June.

    "We live in a very polarized time," said the study's co-author Dan Jurafsky, professor of linguistics and of computer science. "Understanding what different groups of people say and why is the first step in determining how we can help bring people together. This research can also help us figure out how polarization spreads and how it changes over time."

    Researchers examined 4.4 million tweets posted in response to 21 different mass shooting events, including the Orlando nightclub shooting in 2016, to determine what words and emotions people with different political leanings expressed.

    They found that Republicans were more likely to express fear and disgust in their tweets than Democrats, who were more likely to communicate sadness and calls for action. Republicans were also 25 percent more likely than Democrats to write "terrorist" in tweets about the shootings in which the shooter was African American, Hispanic or Middle Eastern. Democrats were 25 percent more likely to use the same word when they tweeted about shootings in which the shooter was white.

    Studying tweets

    Researchers launched the study because they had three main questions: What is different about how Democrats and Republicans talk on Twitter? Could Republicans or Democrats be identified based on particular words they use in their tweets? How could these differences help understand the causes and consequences of social media polarization?

    To answer those questions, researchers used a method developed by Stanford economist Matthew Gentzkow together with Brown University economist Jesse Shapiro, who are co-authors on the new study, and economist Matt Taddy. The method determines the degree of polarization in speech, and it was used in previous research that examined the speech of members of Congress.

    The researchers applied the method and a language processing framework they created to a database of 4.4 million tweets about 21 mass shooting events that happened between 2015 and 2018. The researchers excluded retweets, and they determined whether a Twitter user was a Republican or Democrat by analyzing if they followed more Republican or Democratic politicians' accounts.

    Researchers chose to focus on responses to mass shootingsbecause "they are events with objective facts, the meanings of which people twist in different ways," said Dora Demszky, the lead author on the study and a Stanford linguistics graduate student. The interdisciplinary team of co-authors also includes James Zou, assistant professor of biomedical data science, linguistics graduate student Rob Voigt and electrical engineering graduate student Nikhil Garg.

    Researchers found that when people mentioned an earlier shooting as a way to contextualize the new shooting, Democrats were 2.7 times more likely than Republicans to mention a previous school shooting, most often the 2012 Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting. But Republicans were 2.5 times more likely to mention an event of mass violence that involved a perpetrator who was a person of color, which most often involved a mention of the Sept. 11 attacks.

    Researchers saw that the degree of polarization in the tweets increased over time in the hours and days following the events. For the three events where there was sufficient long-term data to draw conclusions, polarization plateaued usually after about three to four days, Demszky said.

    "Ideological polarization happens very fast," Demszky said. "As soon as an event like a mass shooting happens, people react very differently right away. This research gives a large-scale insight into how polarization works linguistically."

    Among other findings, researchers found that Democrats were more likely than Republicans to use phrases like "need to," "should," "have to" and "must" as part of their calls for political action.

    The research study also confirms previous research showing the relationship between people's beliefs, personalities and worldviews. The new study reveals that different emotions are expressed by people with different political leanings.

    Limitations and further research

    While some of the difference in speech patterns between Republicans and Democrats may be intuitive, the new study is one of the first to quantify polarization of language on social media in the hours and days after major events, Jurafsky and Demszky said.

    "In order to think about how we could fix the echo chambers that social media creates, we need data on how polarization happens," Demszky said.

    Further research is needed to understand the linguistic differences among Republicans and Democrats.

    One limitation of the new study is that researchers categorized each Twitter user they analyzed as either Republican or Democrat rather than locating them along an ideological spectrum.

    Demszky said she hopes that talking about language bias could be helpful in and of itself.

    "It's easy to not reflect on the words you use daily," Demszky said. "But I think it's a good step forward if people are just aware of their own biases."



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