As everyone in the UK knows – we’re in the midst of a general election. Whilst the general public may be tiring of another vote, at Blurrt we’re excited because elections present an opportunity to show off what our tech platform does best. It’s also an opportunity to demonstrate the increasing power and influence of social media data in people’s lives.
For a relatively young company, we’ve had a long history of working in and around politics. Not long after we launched Blurrt at the beginning of 2014, we were commissioned by LBC radio to provide live sentiment analysis of tweets for the EU debates between Nick Clegg and Nigel Farage. We were the first in the UK to do this via our ‘Twitter worms”, providing a real time reaction of the Twitter audience’s view on the politicians. The drama being played out as much on Twitter as it was on people’s screens.
An important footnote to the debates is the fact that Blurrt called both debates in favour of Farage as soon as the debates ended. It took the traditional polls almost an hour later to make similar judgements, from samples of c1000 people. Blurrt analysed over 100,000 tweets across both debates.
Roll forward a year and we were doing the same thing again but for ITV for the 2015 General Election leaders debate. Live ‘Twitter worms’ for each of the leaders, embedded in ITV’s website which the online audience could turn off and on to make direct comparisons. Blurrt also featured in ITV Wales’ post leaders debate show, with a deeper dive into the audience reactions.
2016 was not only an historic year for the UK but also for Blurrt. We teamed up with Twitter UK and the Press Association to provide a live EU data hub. For the duration of the EU referendum campaign we analysed c55 million tweets. Four hours after the polls closed (2:00am) our hub showed a win for the Leave campaign with 51.3% and Remain at 48.7%.
Twitter UK, using our Blurrt Live product, featured on ITV’s referendum results programme, showcasing interesting highlights from our analysed Twitter data.
It’s not all about making predictions (although Blurrt is pretty good at that) and replacing polls (http://bit.ly/2rinA0z). We’re currently working with Nation Media in Kenya for their 2017 election coverage. The main focus of the work is to encourage public debate on the candidates and the election issues, for what is seen as an important election for Kenya. Our live data visuals are embedded within Nation Media’s election site, with a call to action Twitter link, allowing the audience to ‘tweet their say’. Hopefully our tech can help encourage a wider discourse on Kenyan politics.
Which brings us to the UK’s current general election. We wanted to not only raise the bar; to offer something different but also provide a window on the sort of insights and intelligence that Blurrt and social data can provide. Data analysis is typically regarded as serious so we also wanted to present a lighter side, offering up some interesting and funny content.
Unveiled for the first time is our general election data hub.
‘Who’s winning the election on social?’
Alongside the election hub, we’re working with Bengo Media to produce a weekly podcast, ‘Blurrt out the vote” taking a deeper look inside the data at not only the serious but also the fun.