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Published July 24th 2017

Hot Topic Data Deep Dive: Looking at Subway Failures, Delta vs Ann Coulter, and OJ Simpson

Brandwatch's PR Data Analyst, Kellan Terry, flexes his data muscles and analyzes three of the biggest stories on social last week

While this isn’t unusual – social platforms are constantly used for customer service – the attention and headlines that this seemingly routine occurrence received was. We dive into the data and share what we found.

Ann Coulter vs Delta Airlines

One of the key reasons behind this story blowing up? The characters.

This was not your average person complaining on Twitter.

This was conservative social and political commentator, Ann Coulter, who boasts more than 1.61 million Twitter followers.

As people reacted and shared this news, mentions of Coulter soared by more than 2,692 percent between July 14 and the height of the conversation on July 16 – which saw her mentioned nearly 185,000 times online.

Screen Shot 2017-07-21 at 11.31.49 AM_BW.png

*Chart @ 10% sample

The brand in this instance, Delta, saw its mentions jump by 1,391 percent.

This tsunami of social attention can stunt some, but Delta’s response found social media rallying behind them, and as of Friday, Delta’s social conversation sentiment was 84.8 percent positive.

Social mention volumes of both Delta and Coulter have since returned to normal.

Commuting New Yorkers are not happy

Brandwatch has offices all over the world, and one of those spaces sits in New York where a social movement is underway.

This movement calls attention to the massively used, and underwhelmingly performing, mass transit system, or the subway.

A streak of subway failures and mishaps have led New Yorkers to their mobile devices, and #WeTheCommuters was born. Closely related to the hashtag #SummerOfHell that was spawned from the same frustrations, #WeTheCommuters planted its flag firmly in the ground on Monday and Tuesday last week with more than 1,300 mentions in those two days.

A major train delay occurred when trash on the track caught fire on the electrified third rail causing scenes like the below all along New York’s 1 train line.

The #WeTheCommuters hashtag has accumulated more than 22 million impressions in the past two weeks, and its closely associated #SummerOfHell has registered an additional 340,000 impressions appearing in the same tweets.

Screen Shot 2017-07-21 at 1.44.46 PM_BW.png


The last story we’ll focus on for this week is a topic that dominated headlines for days: OJ Simpson’s parole hearing.

After a couple of successful television series and documentaries interest in OJ Simpson is at an all-time high. It was because of this that the most viral story of the week revolved around his parole hearing from a 2008 burglary and assault.

Simpson was granted parole and will be free in the fall. At this news, social media erupted. The organically appearing hashtag #OJSimpsonParole flew to a one-day total of more than 206,000 mentions.

The pop culture references and connections make a strong showing in the hashtag’s most popular topics.

Screen Shot 2017-07-21 at 2.11.18 PM_BW.png

Those are the stories you couldn’t escape last week. We’ll be back again next week with a data-driven look at the stories that seemed to be everywhere.

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