Facebook, CNN Team Up to Crunch Real-Time Election Buzz on Social Networks

Facebook and CNN will team up to deliver real-time intelligence on how many people are talking about the candidates for president and vice president.

Election Insights
The new free offering, called Election Insights, taps the talents of social network information curator Mass Relevance to massage information culled from Facebook Page Insights and the "People Are Talking About This" metric--a number derived from "likes" of a page, post or other content, comments and tags.

It also uses aggregate mentions to measure the volume of unique people talking about the candidates on Facebook each day.

On CNN's Election Insights page, candidate buzz can be sliced and diced in a number of ways. You can see talking trends in your state, for instance, or break them out by gender, age, or time period--last 12 hours, last day, last three days, or last seven days. That data is also used for charts and graphs about the information displayed on the page.

In addition to providing candidate buzz on the 'Net, information from Election Insights will be used by CNN in television broadcasts. It will be a regular feature on "The Situation Room with Wolf Blitzer."

"By teaming up with Facebook and Mass Relevance, we can effectively gauge the buzz surrounding this election and deliver it to CNN Digital users, literally as it’s happening," said CNN Digital Senior Vice President KC Estenson in a statement.

Since Facebook is a natural place where "friends" talk about politics, the Insights tool "will offer an interactive, real-time glimpse into how and where this conversation is taking place across the country," added Elliot Schrage, Facebook's Vice President-Corporate Communications & Public Policy.

Other Collaborations Between CNN and Facebook

Election Insights isn't CNN's first pairing with Facebook on an election vehicle. Earlier this summer, it created the "I'm Voting" app that enables Facebook users to commit to voting, endorse specific candidates and positions and compare their choices with those of their friends.

In addition to its Facebook efforts, in the past, CNN has launched mobile apps that allowed political junkies to follow election results in real time.

While candidates are attempting to flog the social networks for votes, the effectiveness of those efforts has yet to be determined.

A study released by NM Incite in April, for example, found that the impact of social-media buzz on who wins or loses an election is a mixed bag. It also showed that voter turnout can't be predicted from social buzz.

Follow freelance technology writer John P. Mello Jr. and Today@PCWorld on Twitter.

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