I loved ‘covfefegate’, not just because it was funny but also because it’s a great example of how a topic can suddenly enter the public consciousness.
Last week, a typo in one of Trump’s tweets launched a 24 hour Twitter storm. Check out this article for some of the best responses!
Looking at Twitter, you can observe the level of discussion around the topic and how many people are tweeting about it. But with my research hat on, I was keen to get an additional perspective. How did interest in the topic grow? How were people engaging with the topic more generally? My hypothesis is that if you’re interested in something, you’re likely to Google it.
Looking at the Google Trends chart above, you can see that no one had googled the word ‘covfefe’ before Trump’s tweet in the early hours of Wednesday 31st May. Then suddenly you have a peak of interest that evening, before interest drops right back down again. A great example of how something can come into consciousness and then relatively drop of the radar again.
Google Trends also gives stats on where searches come from and any related topics and queries.
Unsurprisingly most searches came from the US, and were to find out what ‘covfefe’ actually means!
Another thing I loved about this is that it’s also the perfect example of how social media, news media and general online activity are completely interlinked. Twitter used to be a place where people discussed what is happening, but as Twitter’s slogan goes, it is what’s happening. Things happen on Twitter that then get into the news and into the public consciousness.
People were Googling ‘covfefe’ because of what happened on Twitter.
Maybe the best thing about this is that, as a researcher, all this data is at your fingertips and is relatively easy to access. Also, it’s worth bearing in mind that ‘social media research’ or ‘social media listening’ doesn’t only mean that you’re looking at Twitter, Instagram or Facebook. There are many more places to consider if you’re looking to analyse what people are discussing or interested in online. So even if you haven’t considered doing this kind of research before, you might be surprised about what value it can add.