#SOTU Peaks Day of Address
Group Members: Ariel Barry, Joyce Lu, Monika Thomas
For this assignment, our group analyzed the online response to a pre-planned event. State of the Union Addresses are planned ahead of time and occur in January, and the date of the speech is released ahead of time. Additionally, the White House also publishes a press release. When we checked whitehouse.gov to see exactly when the press release was published, we learned that it was put on the website the day of the actual event and not ahead of time.
Because of the nature of this event, we did not choose to analyze or graph the data using times of day, but chose rather to go by months. We started our graph on the day the Wikipedia article was created, because this was the first official date we could find, and carried our graph into April. Below, we will break down the information we gathered.
The Wikipedia page for the 2014 State of the Union Address was created on December 13, 2013, more than a month before the actual event took place. The original page was created as a placeholder, and contained basic information about the event, as the general format remains similar historically. The page saw minimal activity over the next month, as contributors mostly cleaned up grammar, but the day of the event and the rest of that week, contributors edited the page quite a bit.
Along with contributor activity, the page views also mimicked this pattern. Prior to the event, the page had very few page views. However, the day of the event and the day after there was a huge spike in the number of page views. The day after the event, the page had the most views: 15,788. About a week or so before the event, the page views built up and hit around 2,000 until the day before the event when it went up to nearly 7,000. The page views followed similar pattern in the weeks after, as page views declined and remained around 2,000 views a day in early February. Now, the page usually get less than 200 views a day.
For social media, we focused on Twitter and the hashtag #SOTU. Like the Wikipedia page, people began tweeting about the event about a month ahead of time. The number of tweets rose gradually building up to the event until the day of the event. That day, there was a huge spike and #SOTU was more popular than the Wikipedia page for the event. We think the huge spike in day of tweets had to do with people live-tweeting the event as they watched. After the spike day of, the number of tweets dropped significantly which also likely corresponded with the pattern of live-tweeting. #SOTU still had a significant online presence afterward though, and from the day after the event began to decline gradually in February. Now the hashtag has very minimal online presence.
News Coverage seemed to have the most gradual build-up, and though news coverage of the event did reach it’s peak the day of and the day after the event, there wasn’t as much of a jump as we saw with Wikipedia and social media. The decline was also more gradual, as the event seemed to appear in news shows for about a week after, slowing it’s decline. From there, the coverage continued to decline, and now is very minimal. The one issue with tracking this data was that some articles would mention the State of the Union when discussing other topics, without really talking about the event. We weren’t sure exactly how to include this information but we think it likely contributes to it’s slower decline in news coverage.