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#BigData lessons learned from A&E’s Knee Jerk Duck Dynasty Reaction

#BigData lessons learned from A&E’s Knee Jerk Duck Dynasty Reaction

Intel without understanding can be worse than no intel at all. (Tweet This This was the lesson learned by A&E after firing their top producing show Duck Dynasty. The Big Data Internet Buzz was telling them that people were angry about Phil Roberson’s Faith Based comments on homosexuality when in fact that buzz was coming from an audience that likely didn’t watch the show.

Many of the negative tweets weren’t coming from the show’s core audience in the middle of the country. Instead, they were coming from the tweet-happy East and West Coasts — not exactly regular watchers of the camo-wearing Louisiana [Folks]

So what lessons can marketers learn from this?

The greatest challenge of Big Data — especially social media — is separating the signal from all the noise. A study by the Pew Research Center, for example, found that Twitter users are more often than not negative. The study, which examined reactions on Twitter to news events, including Barack Obama’s and Mitt Romney’s presidential race, discovered that “for both candidates, negative comments exceeded positive comments by a wide margin.” More disturbingly, that reaction is not representative: “The reaction on Twitter to major political events and policy decisions often differs a great deal from public opinion as measured by surveys,” Pew reported. That is due, in part, to the fact that “Twitter users are not representative of the public”: They are younger and more likely to lean toward the Democratic Party. It turns out that what’s “trending” on Twitter may not really be “trending” at all.

Big Data and massive efforts to analyze it aren’t going away. But the need for judgment — and patience — is more important than ever. A crowd may be wise, but ultimately, the crowd is no wiser than the individuals in it. Read more:

IMAGE CREDIT: Pew Research Center

The lack of consistent correspondence between Twitter reaction and public opinion is partly a reflection of the fact that those who get news on Twitter – and particularly those who tweet news – are very different demographically from the public. Read more


About Lawrence Stone

Digital Media Consultant, Mad Scientist/Entrepreneur, & Founder of Superior Impact, Inc.

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