Internet Was Buzzing About Healthcare, but Obama Buzz Dropped

Healthcare was the rave on the Internet but Obama's buzz has hit rock bottom.


By Paul Bedard, Washington Whispers

Obamamania on the Internet is starting to fade. Once the most buzzed subject ever in political stories, his star has faded to a near all-time low, though his healthcare plan dominated the political traffic in March, according to Zeta Interactive, the digital marketing firm that logs political buzz searches.

"As the March Zeta Interactive political buzz report illustrates, there has never been a more critical time for President Obama's online reputation," Al DiGuido, CEO of Zeta Interactive tells Whispers. "While his healthcare plan and trip to Afghanistan are capturing the most volume of online buzz, his tonal ranking continues to drop, and is hovering slightly above 50 percent positive. Heading into April, as the healthcare plan continues to be scrutinized and people will be watching the employment numbers more closely than ever, the president's online reputation is at stake. It will be interesting to see if his online buzz can recover from the drop it has experienced in the past few months, or if it will continue to drop even further into the negative tonal zone."

To find out what's hot on the Internet, Zeta Buzz mines the online media landscape--hundreds of millions of blogs, Tweets, message boards, social media posts--to determine the buzz about a given subject. Using a scientific algorithm, it's able to measure the volume and tone of conversations across the social media landscape.

Here's the March Zeta Buzz report:

President Obama dominated the online buzz last month, as his healthcare plan and his trip to Afghanistan were the first and third most buzzed about political stories, respectively. The two stories alone accounted for 66 percent of the buzz of all political stories throughout the entire month of March.

Obama's healthcare plan was by far the buzziest political story of last month, generating 53 percent of all buzz around political stories in the entire month. That story received more than four times the amount of buzz that the second most buzzed about political story generated. But while the healthcare plan dominated the buzz last month, the reaction to the plan was not very positive, as the plan received just 56 percent positive/44 percent negative tone online. Three of the most popular words or terms used to describe the healthcare plan last month were "worse/worst", "hurt/hurts" and "wait," used primarily in posts from people who wanted to wait and see before forming an opinion on the plan.

To put the 53 percent volume number in perspective, this is the highest share of volume that a single political story has received in a given month since Obama's inauguration, when he received 82 percent of all buzz surrounding all political stories that month.

Obama's overall online reputation also took a slight hit last month, as his tone dropped from 54 percent positive to 51 percent positive--a 3 percent negative tonal drop in just a 30-day period. At 51 percent positive, Obama's buzz is the lowest it has been since July 2009, when his buzz dropped to 50 percent positive. Never since he took office has Obama's buzz dropped to under 50% positive, although it is dangerously close after last month.

While Obama's healthcare plan was the buzziest story of the month, the political scandal entangling New York Gov. David Patterson receiving the second most volume buzz of all political stories in March at 17 percent of the total volume share. And judging by the keywords being used to describe the Patterson scandal, it seems like the online community has lost a lot of trust for the guv. For example, three of the most popular words or terms used to describe Patterson are "hate", "dishonest" and "no trust/don't trust."

Here's the breakdown of the top five political stories which received the greatest volume buzz last month:

Obama/Healthcare Plan: 53 percent volume share of all political stories last month

Gov. Patterson scandal: 14 percent of volume share

Obama/Afghanistan trip: 13 percent of volume share

White House Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel apologizing for using the word "retarded": 9 percent of volume share.

Rumors of Obama economic aide Larry Summers retiring: 6 percent of volume share.

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