Radian 6 Olympics Data Highlights Shortcomings of Social Media MeasurementAugust 6, 2012
By Steve Thomson
Managing Director, Keller Fay UK
August 6, 2012
Today’s Mashable article about Olympics buzz highlights the shortcomings of social media measurement as an indication of buzz about…well, just about anything.
Quoting Radian6 data, the analysis suggests that buzz in social media the US around the Olympics is around 5 times higher than here in the UK, roughly in line with each country’s populations. If this was a reflection of true levels of conversation about London 2012, it would be astounding: “buzz levels in the US match those in the host country, despite time differences of up to 8 hours!”. This despite saturation coverage in all media and huge turnouts for all events.
The reality is, of course, different. The 3 million social media posts in the UK tracked by Radian 6 are swamped by the huge amount of real-world buzz taking place in the UK’s homes, offices and pubs. Keller Fay’s TalkTrack® Britain indicates that over 30 million people are talking daily about the Games. Say 200 million conversations in a week (conservatively), and once again you’re back to our familiar stat: social media represents only 1-2% of all buzz.
Social media measurement attempts to be thorough and comprehensive (at least in the English-speaking world). But for the foreseeable future it runs the risk of yielding misleading conclusions. It’s a bit like drawing conclusions about Olympic performance just from watching the Greco-Roman wrestling…