M3A1- Doomsday Data


Social Media Marketing cannot be successful if it takes place in a vacuum. For organizations to make the most of their social media presence, they must monitor their platforms and establish success metrics for their strategy. A successful approach combines listening to the conversations taking place online, learning from and responding to what is said, and measuring the impact of the messaging (Scott & Jacka, 2011).

One of the ways to begin this process is to monitor trending topics related to your brand. Over the course of one day, I used SocialMention.com to watch reactions to the news that the Doomsday Clock was now 2 minutes to midnight. While the topic didn’t relate to a specific business or brand outright, the story and its reception do provide an example of how social media has influenced journalism and the circulation of news.

Social Mention is a social media analysis site that monitors over 100 platforms, including Twitter, Facebook, and Google, and shares what is trending online in real time.  Click on a trend, and the site displays a breakdown of that trend’s Strength, Sentiment, Passion, and Reach. The website defines each on its FAQ page.

The story of the Doomsday clock was fascinating to monitor, mainly because of the sentiment scores it received. The topic had a neutral sentiment. This surprised me because a story about the world inching closer to nuclear war would, I assumed, provoke negative responses. Even more surprising was that there were some examples of positive sentiment toward the topic.

Digging into the data further revealed that it shouldn’t be taken at face value because the examples of positive sentiment were all sarcastic. Things like “Good Luck Everyone!” and “The good news? We’re now living in an Iron Maiden song again” showed up as positive because the site analyzes content devoid of context. Just having the words “good news” in the headline was enough to register these as positive.

Since news articles generated most of the conversations around the topic, I think using hashtags and keywords like #Doomsday benefited journalistic organizations the most. And an upsetting topic like the Doomsday Clock is perfect for drawing in potential readers. In fact, research has shown that negative tweets attract more attention than positive ones (Kätsyri, Kinnunen, Kusumoto, Oittinen, & Ravaja, 2016).

Many people lament that the news only focuses on bad things, but data shows negative content drives sales more than positive material, so it is not hard to understand why organizations have chosen to embrace this approach (Soroka, 2015). There are examples of this every day in television broadcasts, newspaper headlines, and now, trending topics on Twitter.

The fact is, stories like the Doomsday Clock are good examples of how news sites can elicit engagement. The next step is to leverage that engagement into something tangible for the organization. One way to do that is to establish conversion and activity metrics for tweets that bring readers to the main website where ads and subscriptions are offered. The company can then monitor to see if, over time, those visitors return and end up buying their product. This is called assisted social conversions, and it is a great way to demonstrate the value of social media marketing (Chitwood, 2013).


Chitwood, Luke (2013, October 29). 5 social media metrics that your business should be tracking. Retrieved from https://thenextweb.com/socialmedia/2013/10/29/5-social-media-metrics-business-tracking/

Kätsyri, J., Kinnunen, T., Kusumoto, K., Oittinen, P., & Ravaja, N. (2016). Negativity Bias in Media Multitasking: The Effects of Negative Social Media Messages on Attention to Television News Broadcasts. Plos One, 11(5), e0153712. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0153712

Scott, P. R., & Jacka, J. M. (2011). Auditing Social Media : A Governance and Risk Guide. Hoboken, N.J.: Wiley.

Soroka, Stuart (2015, May 25). Why do we pay more attention to negative news than to positive news? Retrieved from http://blogs.lse.ac.uk/politicsandpolicy/why-is-there-no-good-news/

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