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Latest resource: Maturing from social listening to digital consumer intelligence

A practical guide to levelling up how consumer insights are used across your organization

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Online Trends

Published September 28th 2011

Miliband Watch: Social Media and The Labour Conference

Today we have a post from Kristian Bannister of No Pork Pies, who uses Brandwatch to analyse social media reaction to Ed Miliband’s first conference speech as the leader of the Labour Party.

Over to Kristian:

I used Social Media Monitoring tool Brandwatch to analyse the number of social media mentions regarding Ed Miliband in the wake of the Tuesday’s Labour conference.

Ed Miliband

One main take away from social media’s reaction to Ed Miliband is that the positive outweighs the negative. Politics is always likely to be dominated by sentiment in social media as it provides far more freedom for opinion.

Of the 19k plus mentions, 31.9% were positive, while 17.4% were negative.

Twitter is where most of the discussion took place, followed by news sites and blogs.

‘I am my own man’

Miliband was clear in stating that his leadership was a new era for Labour, while declaring that he is his “own man”. However political commentary often likes to compare leaders to those who have come before them; so I looked at how many people discussed former Labour leaders Tony Blair and Gordon Brown when mentioning Miliband.

Miliband and Blair

Miliband and Brown

One of the most talked about happenings of the speech were the boos and jeers that occurred when Tony Blair’s name was mentioned. Surely a big talking point in social media?

Evidently not as it was Miliband predessesor, Gordon Brown, who gathered the greater number of mentions.

Milband and Blair or Brown

The accumulative number of mentions that referenced either Blair, Brown or both was 2321. That’s just over 12% of the total number of Ed Miliband ‘s 19,249 mentions. Not bad considering he is following up from two of the most well-known characters in modern British politics.

Pro-business versus Anti-business

Miliband could easily be accused of reaching for sound-bites in the past, as seen in this cringeworthy video from earlier in the year. While there were some examples of sound-bite baiting in Wednesday’s speech, the main talking point seemed to be Miliband’s criticism of “bad” business.

In response to his speech, many considered it to be extremely ‘anti-business’, while Miliband himself argued it was ‘pro-business’. According to social media, which view point had more traction?



Unfortunately for Ed, it would seem that most people are talking about his speech being anti-business.

Weird or Normal

During a recent interview on BBC Radio 4, Miliband was asked if he was concerned that many voters regarded him as “weird”. It’s a label that Miliband himself addressed when he insisted he is a “pretty normal guy”.

Labels can often be hard to shift in politics; so how did social media react to the ‘weird’ and ‘normal’ debate.



The results suggest that Miliband is viewed as fairly ‘normal’. While the Labour leader would be pleased to hear less people think of him as ‘weird’, it might be worth adding that ‘normal’ is a word with far more everyday usage!

Author: Kristian Bannister. Search Marketing Executive from Social Media Agency, No Pork Pies.

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