Obama's Internet Buzz Slumps With Economy

The bad economic news has pretty much ended Obama's pre-inauguration buzz on the Internet.

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By Paul Bedard, Washington Whispers

A month on the job, and President Obama's poll ratings continue to be good. But our friends at Zeta Interactive, who mine blogs with their Zeta Buzz technology, find that the buzz is gone, though the prez is still big news. "President Obama is clinging to cloud nine for his dear life," says Zeta spokesperson Sean Carney. Here's what he tells us after conducting an exhaustive online search of postings about the president on some 100 million blogs and online communities:

  • Overall, the postings have dropped nearly 90 percent since before the inauguration.
  • While the postings continued to drop as he settled in, the positive tone about the president also plummeted.
  • As his successes landed, especially with the passage of the stimulus, the positive tone rebounded.

"His [buzz] tone has recovered a bit since passing the stimulus package, but he is far off the heights of his pre-inauguration numbers," says Carney. "The volume, or buzz, of posts is also trending downwards as Obama is quickly learning the meaning behind, 'You can't please all of the people all of the time.' " Of course, Obama associates say a rebound could occur, starting with his speech to a joint session of Congress tonight and his efforts to spend the stimulus and deal with the housing crisis and maybe even the plight of Social Security.

Here is Carney's full note, with graphs, explaining the president's buzz:

Here is our rather extensive search for you about Pres. Obama's first month in office and how his online reputation has fared amidst one of the worst economies in 80 years. Some background:

By using Zeta Buzz technology, which scans over 100 million blogs and online communities, we organized the first month by weeks—beginning right after the Inauguration and ending today. In each week, we tracked the volume of posts being generated about the President along with the tone of each post to determine if people's opinion waned during some tough moments over the past month.

Zeta Buzz can also determine the sex of the person posting (if the blogger, commenter or other online identity identifies themselves as such). So we checked to see if Obama has more activity from men or women, and which group supports his actions more.

Here are the results:

Week One:

  • The volume of posts (buzz) dropped 29% from the week prior to the inauguration to the post inauguration week
  • The positive tone of posts about Obama dropped a slight 2%

Week Two:

  • The volume of posts (buzz) continued to drop in week two, dropping 54% from the previous week
  • The positive tone about Obama dropped 9% in week two—(11 points down from pre-Inauguration)

Week Three:

  • The volume of posts (buzz) increased 25% in week 3
  • The positive tone on Obama plummeted 9 more points—(20 points down from pre-Inauguration) (NOTE: Week following massive layoffs)

Week Four:

  • The volume of posts dropped 26% from week 3
  • Obama's tone score recovered, up 8 points this week. His overall score is down 12 points from his pre Inauguration score

In terms of volume, pre-Inauguration Obama saw a consistent build-up of activity and buzz:

http://www.usnews.com/dbimages/master/9662/FE_AL_090224whispers-zeta1.jpg

Buzz of the public post-election?

http://www.usnews.com/dbimages/master/9663/FE_AL_090224whispers-zeta2.jpg

Trend overall – Pre and Post Election Buzz:

http://www.usnews.com/dbimages/master/9664/FE_AL_090224whispers-zeta3.jpg

Tone of the public pre-inauguration:

http://www.usnews.com/dbimages/master/9665/FE_AL_090224whispers-zeta4.jpg

Tone of the public post-inauguration:

http://www.usnews.com/dbimages/master/9666/FE_AL_090224whispers-zeta5.jpg

Summary: As you can see from the charts, President Obama is clinging to cloud nine for dear life. His tone has recovered a bit since passing the stimulus package but he is far off the heights of his pre-Inauguration numbers. The volume, or buzz, of posts is also trending downwards as Obama is quickly learning the meaning behind, "you can’t please all of the people all of the time".

According to Zeta Buzz technology, one of the biggest reasons for this slide has been the stimulus package and all of the factors included therein. Topics like foreclosures, mortgage modifications, the auto bailout, government spending, job losses, etc are closely tied to Obama’s name around the blogosphere, weighing down any positive chatter.

The online community remains a flood basin for the rushing waters of public commentary and each move the President makes will result in a rising or lowering of the high-water mark. It will be interesting to see how not only the next month, but the next 70 days play out for the new President as he continues to impart new legislation and attempt to bring the American economy back from the brink.

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