Lifestyle

#SGBudget2014: Which news outlet fared better in this Twitter journalism contest?

It must have been a pretty chirpy day for Twitter users in Singapore yesterday.

Our major media outlets such as The Straits Times (ST), TODAY, Channel NewsAsia (CNA) and even Yahoo! were hot on the heels lips of Finance Minister Tharman Shanmugaratnam as he delivered the much-anticipated Budget 2014 speech.

Not surprisingly, #SGBudget is also proudly hovering as the top trending topic on the local Twitterverse.

If I could recap: Our pioneers are now the happiest group of people in the little red dot after being handed with an additional 50% subsidised bills at specialist outpatient clinics and polyclinics. Following closely behind are our Institute of Technical Education, polytechnic and university students who can now look forward to higher amounts of bursaries. Smokers were perhaps the most distraught (maybe even breathless) as duties for cigarettes and tobacco products would be raised by 10% from yesterday.

That is a lot to digest, isn’t it?! Imagine all four newspapers flooding your Twitter feed at one go, screaming for your attention.

So who fared better in this Twitter journalism contest? Here is my analysis.

1. Who tweets the most?

sgbudgetataglance

(Infographic by Mohd. Azhar Aziz)

I used Topsy.com for the analysis as of 6pm yesterday. Figures are of estimated value (+/- 10) due to the nature of the data. Bear in mind that ST has multiple accounts, including STmoneydesk, tweeting almost the same content. I have decided to use its main Twitter account for comparison.

As you can see, TODAY led the pack with 175 tweets (42% of the total), followed closely by Yahoo! with 111 posts (26%.) ST tweeted the least with only 64 posts (15%) on the social media platform.

There are many ways at looking at this. One could say that ST decided to tweet less on its main account and spread out the workload among its desks and journalists (including Ignatius Low). I see this data as how the two least followed media outlets were working doubly hard to capture the readers’ attention.

2. Retweets and Engagement

sgbudget2

(Infographic by Mohd. Azhar Aziz)

Using the top 20 tweets by the big four as provided by Twitter randomly as sample, I managed to present this rather compelling data. Channel NewsAsia tweeted much less than TODAY, but the total number of retweets it garnered was chart-topping! As of 6pm, 578 retweets were generated from its coverage. This translated to a whopping 2,890% engagement.

The top two #sgbudget content pushers – TODAY and Yahoo! – were left far behind with a mere 133 and 35 retweets from its followers respectively. Again we can point our fingers at various factors. However, I believe perhaps the ‘tweet-rush’ by TODAY and Yahoo! might have overwhelmed their followers, hampering them from properly reading and thus responding to the posts.

Could an over-saturated newsfeed cost either outlet its followers? Or could this be a question of quality vs quantity? These questions beg some answers.

3. Analysis of top post

sgbudget_toppost

(Infographic by Mohd. Azhar Aziz)

Now lets dive in deeper and take a look at one of the top tweets posted – the announcement of a 10% increase in excise duties of cigarette and tobacco products. CNA received a whopping 349 retweets, as if showing no mercy to the other three. The question now is what could have helped CNA achieve this meteoric success?

At one glance from the graphic above, you would notice one striking difference between CNA and its competitors: use of a photo. Perhaps, that had made the tweet to stand out, inviting legions of Twitter users to share it among their peers. If only the admin had provided a link to CNA’s website – that would bring a lot of organic hits!

Live-tweeting is not something new; journalists locally and abroad have utilised it over the years. CNA seemed to have out-tweeted the rest in Singapore’s Twitter journalism war this time round. Perhaps we could pick a leaf out of this case study.

 Also read: 7298 social media accounts were hacked in Singapore, Thailand and Indonesia

 

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