Russell Brand v Jeremy Paxman: The social media reception

Since the interview aired on BBC Newsnight less than a week ago,  social media commentary about the Brand v Paxman debate has exploded. On the official BBC Newsnight YouTube upload of the interview, there has already been 7,562,772 views: that’s a whopping 1,260,462 views per day! In the wider social media universe of Twitter, blogs and forums, conversation levels around ‘Russell Brand’ also shot through the roof;  you can see from the below chart that conversations peaked 11,200/day in the immediate aftermath of the interview. And that’s before you even include Facebook (unfortunately social media monitoring tools are in the most part unable to pick these up due to the platform’s privacy restrictions).

Not only has the interview spread like wildfire online through sharing, the debate has activated the public to provide their individual commentary and opinion on what Russell had to say. On Newsnight’s official YouTube video, there are 71,000 ‘thumbs up’ v 3,200 ‘thumbs down’ on the video. Russell’s words have clearly struck a chord with the public – whether they agree with him or not – and as a result people are motivated to use social media to make their views known. Take a look at some of the comments published to Twitter using the official Newsnight hashtag.

A conversation cloud analysis of the social comments also reveals some interesting keywords emerging from the conversation, including emotive words such as ‘love’, ‘great’ and ‘brilliant’. The debate has sparked people to share their personal sentiment towards the debate – and it seems that many are using social to express who’s side they are on.

A couple of other interesting things to note about the Brand conversation:

– The conversation is 61% male

– #Newsnight is the most used hashtag in the conversation indicating dual-screening behaviour

– London is the number 1 city instigating the social conversation (37%)

Did you take to social to spread your views on the big debate? I’m sure a lot of us did… Hopefully this blog scratches the surface of the incredible insight into our public reaction to something controversial such as the Brand v Paxman debate.

What a fantastic thing to be able to access the mindset of the general public… don’t you think?

Images source: Radian6

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