How HBO’s ‘The Newsroom’ used Topsy to break news

By Natan Edelsburg 

topsy-2-650x0Back in February, we wrote about how Topsy’s social data showed that part of why House of Cards was so successful in its first season was because of the traditional press it received. Topsy has managed to index every tweet – 425 billion (tweets, links, photos, videos, blog posts, and pins). in total – since the first one was sent in 2006. A recent New York Time Bits blog post compared what Topsy does for Twitter “to what Google does for Web search.” In essence, it provides insights into Twitter conversations that were once available only to companies to the general public.

In the third episode of season two of HBO’s ‘The Newsroom,’ Neal Sampat used Topsy to get to the bottom of Genoa:

Lost Remote: Do you know how Topsy ended up in the Newsroom?
Duncan Greatwood: We didn’t have any direct contact with the writers from the show. But The Newsroom is very savvy about social media technology, and we were thrilled that they chose to weave Topsy into the storyline.

LR: What was your reaction? Any sales, leads come from it?
DG: A lot of us at Topsy are fans of The Newsroom, so we were really excited to see the shout-out. Many of our customers in news and entertainment also told us it was fun to see the team on the show using Topsy the same way it’s used in their organizations. Trial signups have continued to be strong, and media exposure always plays a role in helping to make that happen.

LR: Why is Topsy important for newsrooms and for TV?
DG: The way Neil explained Topsy in the episode was a great way of illustrating Topsy’s value to news organizations. They need instant access to social insight on a huge range of topics. Our index of the complete Twitter Firehose currently goes back to March 2006, so newsrooms can instantly search and analyze more than three years of real-time social conversations. Also, Topsy’s unique geo-inferencing technology allows us to provide location data for 95% of tweets (versus just 1% that are geo-tagged by Twitter users), so news media can easily zero in on conversations that are happening in a specific location like they did on The Newsroom. And moving beyond news into the broad realm of TV and entertainment, there’s huge value in utilizing a tool like Topsy to gauge not only the volume of tweets, but also sentiment—whether you’re a casting director looking for guidance on choosing a lead character or an advertiser wanting immediate feedback on commercials for future ad investment.