Government shutdown comms by the numbers

Social media monitoring firm Social360 measured consumer reaction to and sharing of news about the federal government shutdown this week, finding little positive sentiment and a belief that Republicans are mostly to blame for the impasse.

Social media monitoring firm Social360 measured consumer reaction to and sharing of news about the federal government shutdown this week, finding little positive sentiment and a belief that Republicans are mostly to blame for the impasse. Some statistics below.

The top line:
Social360 found significant volume of mentions – 17,000 – with the terms “US,” “government,” and “shutdown” in the 24-hour period from Tuesday to Wednesday (see image below). Sentiment was 60% neutral, 38% negative, and just 2% positive.

What concerns consumers:
The Chinese government's unhappiness with the stalemate was a primary concern of social media users during the period. However, the firm noted that numerous consumers shared a Public Radio International story that found some Chinese social media users applauded the shutdown as a sign of a democratic government. Other users mentioned President Barack Obama's decision to delay his trip to Asia because of the crisis as an example of its effect on foreign relations.

Who's winning?
A Political Wire piece reporting on an AP-GfK poll that found 62% of Americans are mostly blaming Republicans for the shutdown gained 34,000 Facebook likes. A post by GOP Rep. Steve Stockman (R-TX) that “Democrats are divided” on the shutdown earned 500 likes, while commentator Glenn Beck's view that Obama's actions are “the sign of a dictator” was tweeted 836 times and shared 139 times on Google+.

Financial impact:
Many social media users are concerned about the effects of the shutdown on tourism. A piece on CNBC headlined “IMF: What a month-long shutdown could look like” was circulated widely.   

Source: Social360, with a focus on the 24-hour period from October 8-9, including example comments representative of overall sentiment.

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