ADOTAS – In the most exciting outreach to the public since presidential hopeful Bill Clinton appeared on MTV (my god, I’m old), President Barack Obama is hosting a “Twitter town hall” this afternoon in which he will take questions (140 characters or less — no followups!) marked with an #askobama from the tweeterverse.
It’s the latest Silicon Valley play for the politician that found Facebook an essential ingredient to pushing his 2008 campaign to victory. The Twitter town hall follows Obama’s Facebook town hall in April and a press-free dinner with digital giants like Apple CEO Steve Jobs and Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg. (Another Silicon Valley connection: Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg, a former Treasury employee, has been rumored as a potential replacement to Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner.)
Twitter has tapped social media monitoring service Radian6, sold to Salesforce.com at the end of March, to analyze the tweets and conversations revolving around the event. Prior to the actual town hall, Radian6 took a look at 1.2 million politically related tweets over the last few weeks to get an idea of what’s on Twitter users minds.
Obama himself was the keyword in around 57% of these tweets, with the biggest spikes in the “Wellness” and “Development” segments coming during televised speeches. About 38% of the tweets regarded national security (with the biggest spike in Twitter traffic occurring after the announcement of Osama bin Laden’s death) while around 34% related to financial security.
Tweets from men comprised more than 60% of the sample. Analyzing the role of age, Radian6 discovered that those between the ages of 25 and 34 were more concerned about issues such as fiscal responsibility, ethics and civil rights; tweet from those between the ages of 35 and 44 centered around poverty, taxes and family; and tweeters between the ages of 45 and 54 were focused on health care, rural development, senior issues and social security.