Mayoral Scandal Makes Toronto Social Media Famous
For months there has been a political scandal brewing in the city where our headquarters is located. Over this time, people in our office have been asking me to write a blog post to see how it was being talked about in social media. I would politely decline because it was a local matter and we have readers from all over the world. But then, just this week, the world became very aware of of this political scandal, so I can now write about it.
By now, you must have figured out that I’m talking about what is going on in Toronto with Mayor Rob Ford.
Months ago, a reporter from Gawker was given a tip that someone in Toronto had a video of the mayor smoking crack. However the tape was never actually seen. That is, until police earlier this week said they had found the video and submitted it to the courts. Then, on Tuesday, the mayor came out to reporters at Toronto city hall and admitted that he had in fact smoke crack at least once. From there, the internet seemed to explode with people talking about it.
Being a Toronto resident myself, I can say that when the news came and throughout the day my Twitter stream was completely filled with talk about Rob Ford. Then he started showing up on CNN and was even the butt of many late night talk shows’ jokes. However, when I looked up mentions of the mayor over the past three days I found him mentioned in 431,938 pieces of social media content (which is by no means a small number, but smaller than it felt like if you had seen my Twitter feed). Rob Ford was mentioned 3,749 blog posts, 10,566 online news articles, 3,976 forum postings and 413,647 tweets in the past three days.
Looking at the spread of Ford talk over the past three days I found that mentions of the mayor spiked significantly on Tuesday when he made his confession. This happened in the morning hours, so people were able to talk about it all day. The next day however, talk subsided quite a bit. This is likely due to the admission gaining world wide appeal, but most of the world lost interest shortly after.
A look at where all the mentions of Rob Ford were coming from shows that Canada, the country where the incident is most relevant, owned the largest part of the conversation with 45.9%. However, as I mentioned before, the rest of the world did get in on the action for a little bit. A look at our geo location heat map of where tweets originated from shows that people all over the world were actually talking about him.
A look at some of our text analytics tools shows that the story of what happened has gained notoriety. When I pulled up a buzzgraph and word cloud for the past three days I found the story unfold. Of course, some of the most popular words I found were “Rob” “Ford” and “crack.” The rest of the story is there as well as we see “video” appear quite often as well as “allegations” for when the video was just a myth followed by “admitted” for the breaking story. Interestingly, “resign” also appears quite often as citizens of Toronto have been calling for the mayor to step down from his political position.
The sentiment that I found coming from the conversation comes as no surprise. The talk around Mayor Ford over the past three days has obviously been quite negative. In fact, 36% of all conversations I found have a negative connotation to them. Surprisingly though, 9% of the conversation has been positive.
Lastly I looked at the hashtags on Twitter that were following theRob Ford talk. Most seem very relevant to the conversation like #RobFord, #TOpoli (for Toronto politics), #CDNpoli (for Canadian politics) and #Toronto. However, the interesting one that stands out in this list is #InADrunkenStupor. This hashtag was started right after the mayor’s confession because he mentioned that he “may have tried crack during a drunken stupor.” From there, the hashtag took off. While I won’t post any of the tweets that came along with this hashtag on the blog here, there were some really funny ones.
Regardless though of the fun people have been having with this news and the outrage coming from the citizens of Toronto, there is one special victim that came from all of this. Unfortunately, the Twitter handle @RobFord is owned by an unfortunate man (whom I believe lives in England) who just happens to have the same name as Toronto’s mayor. He had this to say on Tuesday:
My Twitter is blowing up… the mayor of Toronto must be up to some shenanigans again.
— robford (@robford) November 5, 2013