In just a few years Twitter has established itself as an increasingly important medium for breaking news, but what happens when Twitter itself is the subject of that news, and the story is almost wholly negative?
Last week, users responded with anger on reports that female campaigners and MPs had been subject to abuse and rape threats on Twitter, particularly when Twitter, Inc, was initially slow to respond and then failed to provide any practical solution. YouGov tracked the UK public’s reaction to this news between July 28th and August 5th and discovered that attention given to Twitter, which is defined as those hearing anything good or bad about a brand, doubled in this period (from 12 percent to 24 percent of the UK public).
However, most of that attention was generally negative, and Twitter’s Buzz score – positive minus negative reactions – fell from +1 percent on July 27th to -17 percent on August 5th.
“This data could be interpreted in differing ways – perception of Twitter in the UK has fallen, but usage appears unaffected,” writes Stephan Shakespeare, founder and global CEO of YouGov. “The impact does not seem to have spread beyond these shores, but what is happening in the UK could be seen as a warning sign if similar rows break out in other countries. A decline in brand perception can be a harbinger for other negative impacts, and I believe Twitter should do everything in its power to keep public opinion onside.”