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Flashback: Gulf Oil Spill and Rise of ‘the Narrative’ in Politics

The Importance of  Tracking Evolving Narratives


Gulf Oil Spill Vs. Katrina


Obama vs. BP

The Lesson of the Gulf Oil Spill narrative is the importance of controlling the narrative, since whoever wins of the narrative, controls the story in terms of political capital — for good or ill.

Austin, TX, June 02, 2010 (Updated May 24, 2014) — In an exclusive analysis by The Global Language Monitor’s NarrativeTracker™, there are now several differing story lines emerging from the Gulf Oil Spill. The ‘narrative’ refers to the stream of public opinion captured by blogs and other social media outlets on the Internet, as well as the leading print and electronic databases.

Colleen Ross:  How Obama Lost Control of the Oil-Spill Narrative (CBC)

The Narratives emerging from this on-going (and slow-moving) disaster include: Obama was Slow to Respond – 95% of the social media conversations characterize the President Obama as ‘slow to respond’. Obama vs. BP: who’s in charge? — 52% see BP in charge of the spill. This may or may not be a political liability. Democrats need the blame assigned to BP; at the same time, Obama needs to be seen as in overall control of the disaster Worst environmental disaster ever – 42% see the current spill the worst environmental disaster ever. Federal Response — 57% see the Federal response using ‘poor’ or related keywords. Not a good month for the Feds; come to think of it, not a good year for the Feds. Katrina vs. Exxon Valdez – 61% make the comparison to the Exxon Valdez; about 39% compare the ongoing spill to the inundation of New Orleans in the wake of Hurricane Katrina.


Biblical Prophecies Abound Once More — About 61% of all references involve the Bible. (Even Ted Turner has a theory how the oil spill might be a warning from God.) These are markedly different in tone than those used with Katrina where the references focused on apocalyptic imagery, End-of-the-World scenarios and doom. The Obama Style of Leadership – This is a close one 52% see Obama as ‘hand’s on’ leadership, 48% see ‘hand’s off’. Again, this is either positive or negative depending on your political bias.

Clarence Page:  How stories, true or not, drive politics

Ronald Reagan was seen as a ‘hand’s off’ president and that was considered good. Jimmy Carter was a ‘hand’s on’ type president and that was considered bad. “The development of the Gulf Oil Spill narrative is important to track since he who wins control of the narrative, controls the story in terms of political capital – for good or ill,” said Paul JJ Payack, president and chief word analyst of GLM. “With the mid-term elections just five months away, and the prospect of the Gulf Oil Spill continuing unabated for months, control of the narrative is more important than ever.” The rise of the narrative can render positions on the issues almost meaningless, since positions now matter less than how they fit into a particular narrative.

The NarrativeTracker is more effective in capturing the true opinion of the public because it tracks unfiltered keywords in Social Media and other sources, rather than how that opinion is interpreted by the news media or by pollsters. The term ‘narrative’ in this sense is now appearing thousands of times in the global media on the Internet and blogosphere as well as throughout the world of social media, meaning the main streams of public opinion running in the media that needs to be fed, encouraged, diverted or influenced by any means possible. GLM recently announced The Healthcare NarrativeTracker Index™ (NTI™), in partnership with OpenConnect Systems of Dallas. The Healthcare NTI is the first product specifically designed to use social media-based monitoring to better understand the issues driving healthcare reform, providing a real-time, accurate picture of what the public is saying about any topic related to healthcare, at any point in time. The NarrativeTracker is based on the GLM’s Predictive Quantities Indicator™ (PQI™).

The PQI tracks the frequency of words and phrases in global print and electronic media on the Internet, throughout the Blogosphere and other social media outlets as well as accessing proprietary databases. The PQI is a weighted index that factors in long-term trends, short-term changes, momentum, and velocity. About the Global Language Monitor Austin-Texas-based Global Language Monitor analyzes and catalogues the latest trends in word usage and word choices, and their impact on the various aspects of culture, with a particular emphasis upon Global English.




2013 Major Golf Championships Ranked by Internet Media Buzz

British Open No. 1 by the wide margin, Master’s No. 2


In Analysis ‘The Players’ Ranks higher than the PGA


Biggest Problem:  Nicklaus adds three Majors (to 21), Woods adds only one (to 15).

Austin, Texas. May 11, 2013. (Updated)  Open Championship has been declared the Top Golf Major by Internet Media Buzz, according to an analysis using Global Language Monitor’s Sports Brand Affiliation Index (S-BAI).  

One major point of resistance:  By elevating the Players to Major Status means Nicklaus adds three Majors to his total (to 21), while Woods adds only one (to 15).
The S-BAI analysis compared the strength of affiliation of each of the currently recognized events (The Masters, The US Open, The Open Championship or British Open and the PGA Championship) to the concept of ‘major championship’.  GLM then added the Players Championship for comparison with the four recognized events.  In an associated finding, the Players Championship has entered into the top ranks of the golfing world as one of the sport’s major championship events or Majors.  In fact, the Players’ Championship is in a virtual tie with the US Open for third.
There are now five Majors by MediaBuzz Concensus
There are now five Majors by MediaBuzz Consensus
The Open Championship’s S-Brand Affiliation Index (147.59) was followed by the Masters at 106.62.  The US Open and Players Championships finished in a virtual tie for third at 90.74 and 90.17, respectively.  The Open Championship scored nearly twice as high as the PGA Championship (79.40).
Ranklng the Golf Majors by Sports BAI 
1.  The British Open 147.59
2.  The Masters  106.62
3.  The US Open  90.74
4.  The Players  90.17
5′  The PGA  79.40
“After forty years, the Players Championship has earned its place among the Major Golf Championships,” said Paul JJ Payack, President and Chief Word Analyst of GLM.   “Forty years is certainly an excellent vantage point to judge its worthiness. And the data has spoken.”
Payack added,  “Since 1860 The Open is the championship against which all future Majors would be judged.  Now over one hundred and fifty-years later, we see that it towers above all others in the world of golf.”  
In the early to mid 20th century, the Majors were considered to be those tournaments won by Bobby Jones during his historic 1930 season:  the US and British Amateurs, the Open Championship and the US Open. Later Jones’ own tournament, the Masters, gained in importance as did the Western Open (considered a Major by many for a number of decades) as the British PGA fell from favor.  As recently as 1960 there was no official recognition of the Majors, as such.
For this analysis, GLM employed proprietary ‘algorithmic methodologies’ such as the Brand Affiliation Index.  The BAI computes and details the relative brand equity of people, products or events based on the analysis of global discourse, providing a real-time, accurate assessment at any point in time.  To do so, GLM analyzes the billions of pages on the Internet, millions of blogs, the top 175,000 global print and electronic media, as well as Twitter and new social media sources, as they emerge.
GLM will perform another analysis following the conclusion of the 2013 Majors.
About Global Language Monitor:  “We Tell the World What the Web is Thinking”
Founded in Silicon Valley, Austin, Texas-based GLM collectively documents, analyzes and tracks trends worldwide, with a particular emphasis upon the English language. For more information, individualized reports, or a monthly subscription, call +1.512.815.8836 or email info@LanguageMonitor.com




TrendTopper MediaBuzz College Rankings Spring/Summer 2012

Below are the top 200 Liberal Arts and Colleges focusing on baccalaureate  instruction for Spring/Summer 2012 ranked by their Internet Brand Equity as determined by GLM’s analytical methodologies.


The Top Colleges by Internet MediaBuzz for Spring/Summer 2012

Rank / College

2012 Top Colleges
1 University of Richmond
2 Williams College
3 Smith College
4 Bucknell University
5 Union College
6 Amherst College
7 Colorado College
8 Oberlin College
9 The Cooper Union
10 Pratt Institute
11 Colgate University
12 Wellesley College
13 Occidental College
14 Middlebury College
15 The Juilliard School
16 Davidson College
17 School of the Art Institute of Chicago
18 Pomona College
19 United States Military Academy
20 Vassar College
21 Emerson College
22 Bowdoin College
23 Carleton College
24 United States Naval Academy
25 Hamilton College
26 Swarthmore College
27 Babson College
28 Barnard College
29 Trinity College CT
30 Lafayette College
31 Fashion Institute of Technology
32 School of Visual Arts
33 Claremont McKenna College
34 Wesleyan University
35 United States Air Force Academy
36 Virginia Military Institute
37 Rhode Island School of Design
38 St. Mary-of-the-Woods College IN
39 Guilford College
40 Reed College
41 Morehouse College
42 Bryn Mawr College
43 Bard College
44 Connecticut College
45 Concordia University Texas
46 Lawrence University
47 Southwestern University
48 Hampshire College
49 Ohio Wesleyan University
50 College of the Holy Cross
51 Mount Holyoke College
52 Gustavus Adolphus
53 Haverford College
54 Colby College
55 SUNY—Purchase
56 Dickinson College
57 Macalester College
58 Furman University
59 Drew University
60 Calvin College
61 Kenyon College
62 Minneapolis College of Art and Design
63 Washington and Lee University
64 St Lawrence University
65 Bentley College
66 Augustana College IL
67 DePauw University
68 Hobart William Smith College
69 Bates College
70 SUNY College of Technology, Alfred
71 Gettysburg College
72 Siena College
73 Harvey Mudd College
74 Simmons College
75 US Coast Guard Academy
76 Bethune-Cookman University FL
77 Skidmore College
78 St Olaf College
79 Denison University
80 Presbyterian College
81 Willamette University
82 Knox College
83 Spelman College (GA)
84 Milwaukee School of Engineering
85 Scripps College
86 Grinnell College
87 Bethel College IN
88 Augustana College SD
89 Ohio Northern University
90 Messiah College
91 Erskine College
92 Transylvania University KY
93 Sarah Lawrence College
94 Beloit College
95 Roger Williams University
96 Fisk University
97 University of Puget Sound
98 Hillsdale College
99 Alfred University
100 Randolph College (Macon) VA
101 St. Michael’s College
102 University of the Arts PA
103 Wheaton College IL
104 Centre College
105 High Point University
106 Whitman College
107 Cornell College
108 Illinois Wesleyan University
109 Muhlenberg College
110 College of St. Benedict/St John University
111 Trinity Washington University
112 San Francisco Art Institute
113 Allegheny College
114 Goucher College
115 Baldwin – Wallace College
116 Albion College
117 Florida Southern College
118 Flagler College FL
119 California Institution of the Arts
120 Wabash College
121 Rowan University
122 Pitzer College
123 Kalamazoo College
124 Wittenberg University
125 Linfield College
126 Rhodes College
127 Ursinus College
128 Earlham College
129 Wofford College
130 Hampden – Sydney College
131 Stonehill College
132 Marietta College OH
133 Coe College
134 Moravian College
135 Buena Vista University IA
136 Oklahoma Baptist College
137 Lake Forest College
138 St. John’s College MD
139 Corcoran College of Art and Design
140 Bennington College
141 Agnes Scott College
142 Lenoir-Rhyne University SC
143 Sewanee—University of the South
144 Ripon College
145 Birmingham Southern College
146 California College of the Arts
147 Elmira College
148 Loras College IA
149 Carthage College
150 Adrian College
151 Wheaton College MA
152 Susquehanna University
153 Boston Conservatory
154 Berklee College of Music
155 Endicott College
156 Cleveland Institute of Music
157 Lebanon Valley College
158 Hendrix College
159 St Mary’s College IN
160 Hanover College, IN
161 University of the Ozarks AR
162 Olin College
163 Juniata College
164 Hartwick College
165 Elizabethtown College
166 US Merchant Marine Academy
167 University of North Carolina School of the Arts
168 Westminster College PA
169 SUNY—Geneseo
170 Millsaps College
171 Franklin and Marshall College
172 United States Coast Guard Academy
173 South Dakota School of Mines
174 San Francisco Conservatory of Music
175 Lewis and Clark College
176 Berea College
177 Hood College
178 Morningside College IA
179 Sweet Briar College
180 New England Conservatory of Music
181 McMurry University TX
182 Westmont College
183 Curtis Institute of Music
184 College of New Jersey
185 Hollins University VA
186 University of Minnesota Morris
187 St Michael’s College
188 Ouachita Baptist University
189 Elizabeth City State University
190 Simon’s Rock College
191 St. John’s College NM
192 New College of Florida
193 Berry College
194 Howard Payne University TX
195 Eugene Lang College of New School U.
196 Austin College
197 United States Merchant Marine Academy
198 Washington and Jefferson College
199 LeGrange University
200 College of Wooster


The TrendTopper MediaBuzz Rankings measure near real-time movements of an institution’s reputation or ‘brand equity’, using the same techniques used to measure the appeal of any other branded product, such as luxury automobiles, or consumer electronics. For the first time GLM expanded the Rankings to over 400 schools, 210 in the University Division with another 200 in the College Division to widen the bases of comparison for the education marketplace.

Unlike other college rankings, specialty schools such as Julliard, SAIC, and the Cooper Union, the service academies, business, tech schools are included in the rankings.  Also incorporated into the rankings are ‘for profit” (University of Phoenix) and online institutions, such as Capella and Walden.  This is to provide true comparisons between and among the various types of post-secondary institutions now available to the discerning educational consumers. The full rankings  include positive or negative movement, and MediaBuzz Velocity and Momentum that reveal how a school’s (short-term and long-term) brand equity is increasing or decreasing against its peer group, and the other competitors.


The  TrendTopper MediaBuzz Analysis uses the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching’s classifications as the basis to distinguish between Universities and Colleges. The schools were ranked in the last week of March 2012, with a December snapshot as well as the last day of the previous surveys as the base.

TrendTopper MediaBuzz utilizes a  mathematical model that ‘normalizes’ the data collected from the Internet, social media, and blogosphere as well as the top 175,000 print and electronic media, as well as new social media as they emerge.  The end result is a non-biased analytical tool that provides a gauge of relative values among various institutions, as well as measures of how that value changes over time.


What Others are Saying:

Colleges, Ranked by ‘Media Buzz’

By Eric Hoover

A savvy enrollment manager once told me that a crucial part of his job was getting his college’s name in newspapers and magazines. After all, he said, the more people see an institution’s name, the more familiar it becomes, and the more attractive it seems to prospective students.

He was describing “buzz,” something most colleges crave. In case you didn’t know, the Global Language Monitor will measure it for you.

The  Summer / Spring 2012 Edition now includes over 400 schools, including specialty, Art, Design, Music, online, and for-profit institutions.  It  includes positive or negative movement vs the competition.  It also ranks school by MediaBuzz Velocity and Momentum that tells how a school’s (short-term and long-term) brand equity is increasing or decreasing against its peer group, and the other colleges.




The New Silk Road

Una serie de reportajes por más de 25 países, para explicar la conquista silenciosa del mundo por parte de China. Esta serie constituye un viaje desde las minas de la República Democrática del Congo hasta las explotaciones de gas en el desierto entre Uzbekistán y Turkmenistán, pasando por la Venezuela de Hugo Chávez o el Irán de los ayatolás.

En diciembre de 2009, el centro de análisis estadounidense The Global Language Monitorpublicaba un dato significativo de nuestro tiempo: la “emergencia de China” era “la noticia de la década”. El crecimiento y expansión del gigante asiático desbancaba al atentado del 11-S en Nueva York o la victoria de Barack Obama como hecho noticioso más publicado, buscado y comentado desde el arranque del nuevo siglo en medios de comunicación tradicionales (radio, prensa, televisión), foros y redes sociales.

Que la emergencia del gigante asiático sea “la noticia de la década” puede suponer para muchos una sorpresa. Pero no es más que la consecuencia de una tendencia silenciosa e inexorable que está llamada a cambiar el signo del mundo actual: la expansión de China por los cinco continentes, el deseo de Pekín de volver a ser una superpotencia.

Esta serie lleva por título La Nueva Ruta de la Sedapor razones históricas. Y es que durante siglos la Ruta de la Seda, el comercio, en definitiva, fue una de las pocas -si no la única, junto a las misiones religiosas europeas- forma de contacto de la China imperial con el resto del planeta, particularmente Asia Central, Oriente Medio y Europa. Si la corte de la dinastía Qing (1644–1912) rechazaba en 1792 la visita del enviado del rey británico Jorge III, George Macartney, para abrir más puertos comerciales a la Corona, hoy Pekín avanza en sentido contrario: un proceso de internacionalización sin parangón en su historia que la lleva a los cuatro rincones del globo.

[Read More.]


Healthcare Reform Effort Falters as NarrativeTracker Projected

Social Media and Internet Analysis Presage Future Directions in Healthcare Reform

DALLAS & AUSTIN, Texas – September 28, 2010 – The Healthcare Reform effort has faltered in the public mind as projected by the Healthcare NarrativeTracker™ Index (HNTI™) over the last several months. The results of the Healthcare NarrativeTracker Index were reported over the previous four months in a series of joint announcements by OpenConnect, the Dallas-based leader in process intelligence and analytics solutions, and Austin-based Global Language Monitor, the media analytics company.

For more information about GLM’s Narrative Tracking and Business Intelligences call 1.512.815.8836 or email pjjp@post.harvard.edu.

“It seems that healthcare reform was never really ‘Paid For’ as promised to the American people. The unfortunate reality is one of sharply rising premiums, severely reduced options for coverage and continued out-of-control spending,” said Edward M.L. Peters, CEO of OpenConnect. “The only way to solve this problem is through a comprehensive cost improvement program that focuses on all sectors of the healthcare industry. Saving just $.04 on every healthcare dollar would yield more than enough savings to make this program truly ‘Paid For’ without raising taxes, reducing benefits or cutting reimbursements for services.”

Since being launched earlier this spring, the Healthcare Narrative Tracker Index has found:

  • Growing concern regarding out-of-control cost increases. Analyses now show that the original cost projections have risen even more steeply as insurance companies race ahead to enact changes in their plans and rises in the price of premiums ahead of implementation.
  • Increasing national concern about the inability to keep one’s current insurance. This in spite of the president’s oft-stated assertion that “if you like your current health insurance plan, you will be able to keep it.”

Though the President’s statement is technically true, it is now evident that many of those same plans are now being altered, eliminated, or priced out of reach of their current customers. Therefore, according to HNTI, the president’s statement is viewed with deep suspicion.

  • Sharply rising concern about adding to the deficit. President Barack Obama repeatedly asserted during the healthcare debate that the overhaul legislation would bring down fast-rising health care costs and save money – and not add a penny to the deficit.
  • At a recent press conference, President Obama offered some caveats when asked about the apparent discrepancy between his promises and the current reality of rising premiums and prices. For example, Medicare’s Office of the Actuary confirmed that healthcare costs would continue to rise, at least through 2019. However, the Congressional Budget Office has recently reaffirmed its earlier finding that the Healthcare Reform effort will reduce the deficit in the long-run. Nevertheless, in contradiction to these statements, the HNTI has been ahead of the curve in tracking public perception as well as the future trajectory of the issue.

In a related development, the US Census Bureau announced earlier this week that the number of uninsured Americans grew to 50.7 million in 2009, now 16.7% of the population, rising from 46.3 million and 15.4% in 2008. Also noted was the decline in number of insured through their employer, falling from 176.3 million to 169.7 million in 2009. If this trend continues through 2010 and into 2011, it will only exacerbate the problem of funding the Healthcare Reform effort, since there will be significantly fewer people to help fund the mandate.

“The value of the Healthcare NarrativeTracker Index clearly extends to its predictive ability,” said Dave Hill, long-time industry observer and principle of Mesabi Associates, the Massachusetts-based technology consulting firm. “Including social media in the mix of Internet and electronic and print media sources provides a very clear (and accurate) snapshot of what the people are actually thinking. The predictive element only adds to the Healthcare NarrativeTracker’s power.”

The Healthcare NTI is based on the national discourse, providing a real-time, accurate picture of what the public is saying about any topic related to healthcare, at any point in time. NarrativeTracker analyzes the Internet, blogosphere, the print and electronic media, as well as new social media sources (such as Twitter). In addition to the NTI, the NarrativeTracker Arc™ follows the rise and fall of sub-stories within the main narrative to provide a comprehensive overview of the narratives being tracked.

In a separate release tracking the Top Political Buzzwords of the Mid-term elections, the Global Language Monitor has found that Healthcare Reform-related buzzwords have fallen sharply and now rank at No. 21 on the list, while No. 13 Deficit Spending, No. 15 Out-of-control Spending, and No. 17 Healthcare Mandate are in ascendance.

Widespread Concern about Keeping One’s Insurance & Rising Costs

According to Healthcare NarrativeTracker™

Social Media and Internet Citations More than Double in 90 Days

DALLAS & AUSTIN, Texas (August 17, 2010) — The Healthcare NarrativeTracker™ has found a sharply rising national concern about keeping one’s insurance and rising healthcare costs in light of the regulations associated with the implementation of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act. The new results of the Healthcare NarrativeTracker Index™ (NTI™) were reported earlier today by OpenConnect, the leader process intelligence and analytics solutions, and The Global Language Monitor, the media analytics company.

The NTI has found that the number of social media and Internet citations are significantly diverging among those who cite healthcare price and premium increases vs. those citing lower costs and premiums decreasing. For example the price and premium percentage increase is now nearly double the percentage (188%) for price and premiums decreasing.

In addition, the analysis indicates that the number of social media and Internet citations regarding ‘keeping one’s insurance’ vs. ‘losing one’s insurance’ have also diverged significantly, especially over the last ninety days, with the citations for ‘losing one’s insurance’ increasing some 1160% over the period.

“The numbers in the Healthcare NarrativeTracker are widely supported by the polls, the surveys, and the media,” said Edward M.L. Peters, CEO of OpenConnect and author of The Paid-for Option, which describes how only through the application of innovation and technology can productivity be achieved in the healthcare industry. “The predictive element of the Healthcare NTI has correctly foreshadowed this shift in public sentiment; it will be interesting to see how this all plays out in the run-up to the mid-term elections.”

On August 3, voters in Missouri overwhelmingly (71%) supported a state measure barring the federal government from penalizing those who do not acquire health insurance – a key measure for funding the Obama Healthcare Reform plan. Other evidence indicates that support for Healthcare reform is flagging. According to the Washington Post, the Kaiser Family Foundation health tracking poll “shows erosion in the intensity of support. Last month, 23 percent of Americans held ‘very favorable’ views of the law. This month, that figure is 14 percent, with most of the falloff coming among Democrats (Republicans and independents already being skeptical).” Other polling reinforces these views.

The Healthcare NTI™ is based on the national discourse, providing a real-time, accurate picture of what the public is saying about any topic related to healthcare, at any point in time. NarrativeTracker analyzes the Internet, blogosphere, the print and electronic media, as well as new social media sources (such as Twitter). In addition to the NTI, the NarrativeTracker Arc™ follows the rise and fall of sub-stories within the main narrative to provide a comprehensive overview of the narratives being tracked.

The Healthcare NTI is released monthly. The first analysis completed in May 2010 detailed the various narratives surrounding Massachusetts Healthcare reform, a healthcare model which has been adopted in the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, more commonly known as the national healthcare reform bill.

About OpenConnect:   OpenConnect is the leader in process intelligence and analytics solutions that automatically discover workforce, process and customer variations that hinder operational efficiency. Armed with this information, executives can make the quick and incremental improvements that will increase process efficiency, improve employee productivity, reduce cost, and raise profitability. With a rich history of developing innovative technology, OpenConnect products are distributed in more than 60 countries and used by more than 60 percent of Fortune 100 companies. For more information on OpenConnect, visit www.oc.com.

About the Global Language Monitor:   Austin, Texas-based Global Language Monitor analyzes and catalogues the latest trends in word usage and word choices, and their impact on the various aspects of culture, with a particular emphasis upon Global English. Since 2003, GLM has launched a number of innovative products and services monitoring the Internet, the Blogosphere, Social Media as well as the Top 25,000 print and electronic media sites

For more information, call 1.512.815.8836, email editor@GlobalLanguageMonitor.com, or visit www.LanguageMonitor.com.





The Predictive Quantities Indicator (PQI)


The Global Language Monitor’s proprietary algorithm, the Predictive Quantities Indicator (PQI) is the basis of our analytical engine.

The PQI tracks the frequency of words and phrases in the global print and electronic media, on the Internet, throughout the Blogosphere, throughout Social Media as well as accessing proprietary databases (Factiva, Lexis-Nexis, etc.).

Once a keyword base index is created (including selected keywords, phrases, ‘excluders’ and ‘penumbra’ words), ‘timestamps’ and a ‘media universe’ are determined.

The PQI is a weighted Index, factoring in: Long-term trends, Short-term changes, Momentum, and Velocity.   As such it can create ’signals’ that can be used in a variety of applications.

Outputs include: the raw PQI, a Directional Signal, or a Relative Ranking with 100 as the base.

A more detail look is available upon the signing of a NDA (non-disclosure agreement).  We will then take you through the methodology in detail as we have done with numerous technology organizations, government agencies, and media organizations.  If you would like to pursue this option, please send email to info@languagemonitor.com or call +1512.815.8836.


Quantifying the Gulf Oil Spill

A Technical Communications Perspective

How about 50,000 Cars on the Pacific Coast Highway?

Or a 747 with 500 on board flying for 57 minutes?

Austin, Texas, May 20, 2010 — What does 5,000 (or 50,000) barrels of oil a day mean to you?  We’ve been hearing that number for almost a month now.  And there is some debate whether or not those are accurate numbers.  But what does it mean other than ‘a whole lotta oil’?  This is the question that Global Language Monitor President, Paul JJ Payack examined over the last few days in the following analysis.

Metric Conversion:  1 gallon = 3.79 liters; 1 barrel = 158.98 liters; 1 mile = 1.61 kilometers

Listen or Read: KUHF — Analyst Puts BP Gulf Oil Spill Into Perspectiveto Quantify the Oil Spill at 50,000 Barrels Per Day?

Back when I taught technical and scientific communications at the University of Massachusetts, a key function was to make physical dimensions meaningful to the audience, so we would describe a mainframe computer as the size of a washing machine (used to be an 18 wheeler), a server might be the size of a breadbox (though few have actually seen a breadbox nowadays but we all know it’s about ‘yeah big’).  In the same manner Jupiter is about the size of 80,000 Earths, the Moon’s diameter is about equal to the width of the continental US (or the distance from New York to LA), and you could stuff approximately one million Earths into the Sun.

When you describe the volume of a liquid, such as water, you make comparisons like ‘if you emptied Lake Tahoe – which is nearly 1000 feet deep — and spread about 14 inches over the entire state’.

In terms of energy usage, a common description is to equate a megawatt to the number of homes for which it supplies power.  So a one megawatt nuclear reactor, or wind farm, can power about a thousand American homes, or 10,000 homes in less-developed parts of the world.

So what does the 5,000 to 50,000 barrels a day mean?   First question is ‘what’s a barrel’?’  A barrel is filled with forty-two gallons of oil.  So 5,000 to 50,000 barrels equates to some 210,000 to 2.1 million gallons (or 16.8 million half-pints if you’re thinking in terms small milk cartons distributed in schools).

It does not help, of course, when the CEO of BP likens the spill to a drop in the bucket in relation to the capacity of the oceans.  This strikes most people as condescending but it is actually NOT true.  It is far less than a drop in the bucket when compared to the size of the seas, which contain about 321 million cubic miles of water, so even if the spill is now 1 mile deep by 1 mile wide, by 1 mile in height (USGS numbers) that would be far less than a drop (1 part oil to 321,000,000 parts water).  (Though I am definitely not using this explanation to support BP’s argument here.)

Put another way, in light sweet crude you get about 19.5 gallons of gasoline from the 42 gallons of oil.  Now if a typical car gets about 20 mpg on the highway, that would be equivalent to about 390 miles per barrel.

This is the distance from Los Angeles to San Francisco (actually 383 miles). So if the spill has been spewing 5,000 to 50,000 barrels per day since April 20; that is enough to power 5,000 to 50,000 cars a day along the Pacific Coast highway (or the I-5) from San Francisco to LA.

One more equivalency.  747 aircraft in flight with about 500 people on board are estimated to use about use about a gallon of kerosene a second. About 4.1 gallons are distilled from each barrel of oil.  So 5,000 barrels of crude oil produce 20,500 gallons of kerosene, while 50,000 barrels of oil produce 205,000 gallons of kerosene.

This means 5,000 barrels enables a 747 with 500 passengers to fly 5.7 minutes, while the amount of kerosene from 50,000 barrels of crude oil will allow the same plane to fly almost an hour (56.9 minutes).


Which Brands Really Won in Vancouver: Ambushers

Four of five top brands at Winter Games Were Ambush Marketers


Red Bull Top Ambush Marketer at Vancouver Olympics

Proctor & Gamble, the No. 1 Olympic Sponsor of Any Type

Ambushers Pepsi and Verizon Best Sponsors Coca-Cola and AT&T

Subway Still Strong

“Gang of Five” Canadians beat all IOC sponsors except Visa

Austin, TX March 24, 2010 – The final TrendTopper Ambush Index™ of the Vancouver Winter Olympics 2010 by Austin-based Global Language Monitor, has shown, once again, how companies adept at associating themselves with an event, even though they are not ‘official’ sponsors of that event, can often outperform official sponsors.

Specifically, for the Vancouver Olympics, TrendTopper AI has found that:

  • Red Bull and the Martin Scorsese film ‘Shutter Island’ are the top Ambush Marketers.  ‘Shutter Island’ forged its Olympic linkage by running innumerable prime-time ads during NBC’s exclusive coverage of the event.
  • Ambusher Pepsi beat sponsor Coca-Cola; Ambusher Verizon beat sponsor AT&T
  • Subway, with it ongoing campaign with mega-medal winner Michael Phelps maintained strong ties to the Games
  • The ‘Gang of Five,’ the smaller Canadian Ambushers (Blenz Coffee, Howe Sound Brewing, Lululemon, Scotiabank, and Roots Canada) all beat all IOC sponsors with the exception of Visa (which was bested by four of the five).
  • Proctor & Gamble performed surprisingly well as No. 2 overall and the No. 1 Sponsor of any type.

In addition, the analysis found that past official sponsors appear to bask in the glow of their Olympic association for some time after the quadrennial event with past-sponsor Lenovo outpacing current sponsors Acer and Samsung.

For GLM’s Analysis of the Beijing Olympics, go here.

“Do Olympic Sponsorships actually pay off for official sponsors?  That’s the question that has advertisers buzzing,” said Paul JJ Payack, president and chief word analyst of GLM.  “Since TrendTopper AI measures all perceived Olympic sponsors according to their presence in the global media, If they are statistically linked to the Vancouver Games, they qualify for the Ambush Index.”

The TrendTopper Ambush Index tracks brand media presence in relation to the Winter Games.  It’s based upon GLM’s Predictive Quantities Index, a proprietary algorithm that tracks words and phrases in print and electronic media, on the Internet and throughout the blogosphere, now including social media. The words and phrases are tracked in relation to their frequency, contextual usage and appearance in global media outlets.

For the 2009 – 2012 Olympic Quadrennial, there are nine Global Partners:  Coca-Cola, Acer, GE, McDonalds, Omega, Panasonic, Samsung, Visa, and AT&T.  The United States Olympic Committee (USOC) has two additional national partners:  P&G and the Budweiser unit of inBev.  The Canadian Olympic committee has a number of local partners, of which five were included:  Deloitte, Tyson Foods, United Airlines, Hilton and Nike.

For this analysis, the Ambush Marketers included:  Verizon, Subway, Pepsi, MasterCard and Adidas in the Global Category.  The National Category included Lululemon Athletica, Blenz Coffee, Roots Canada, Scotiabank and Howe Sound Brewing.  Past sponsors who continue to enjoy the glow of past Olympic associations, such as: Allstate, Bank of America, Home Depot, and Lenovo were also included in the analysis.

The Top Twenty-five marketers as measured by brand media presence in relation to the Winter Games.

` VO Partner Affiliation
1 Howe Sound Brewing Ambusher
3 Shutter Island Ambusher
4 Scotiabank Ambusher
5 Lululemon Athletica Ambusher
6 United COC
7 Blenz Coffee Ambusher
8 Visa IOC
9 Red Bull Ambusher
10 Tyson COC
11 Roots Canada Ambusher
12 Budweiser USOC
13 McDonalds IOC
14 Pepsi Ambusher
15 Home Depot Inc Tornino USOC
16 Subway Ambusher
17 Verizon Ambusher
18 Hudson’s Bay Ambushed
19 Exxon Mobil Corp Past Sponsor
20 Deloitte COC
22 Bank of America Torino USOC
23 Nike COC
24 Hilton COC
25 Omega IOC


The complete study of forty brands, with numerical analysis and changes in rankings over the course of the Games is available from the Global Language Monitor.

In the TrendTopper AI analysis, Marketers are ranked both by category and then overall. Rankings are calculated, normalized and cross-indexed.  For trend analysis, momentum and velocity calculations, the TrendTopper AI analysis was run at the halfway point of the Winters Games, with the final tally appearing after the Closing Ceremony.

Four GLM’s Analysis of the Beijing Olympics, go here.


Pandora from Avatar Wins Top HollyWord of 2009

Beats out ‘Hurt Locker’ from The Hurt Locker,

‘Barley Pop’ from Crazy Heart, ‘Vampire’ from Twilight and

‘‘Squeakquel’ from Alvin and the Chipmunks.

7th Annual Global Survey by the Global Language Monitor

Austin, TX. March 12, 2010.  ‘Pandora’ from James Cameron’s Avatar tops the 2009 list of words from Hollywood that most influenced the English Language in 2009 released by the Global Language Monitor.  Closely following were ‘Hurt Locker’ from The Hurt Locker, ‘Barley Pop’ from Crazy Heart, ‘Vampire’ from Twilight and ‘‘Squeakquel’ from Chipmunks.  Rounding out the Top Ten were:  ‘December 21st, 2012’ from the film 2012, ‘Vichy’ from Inglorious Basterds, ‘Her’ from Star Trek, ‘Their’s but to do or die’ from The Blind Side, and ‘Prawns’ from District 9.

Each year, GLM announces the Top Hollywords in conjunction with the annual Oscar ceremony.  The 82nd Annual Academy Awards was held last Sunday at the Kodak Theatre in Los Angeles.

“Last year the top word, ‘Jai Ho!’ was from the other side of the planet; this year it’s from across the Galaxy,” said Paul JJ Payack, President and Chief Word Analyst of the Global Language Monitor.  “In an especially rich year for language, we are also see a slang term for beer, a calendar date, perhaps, the first politically incorrect word for space aliens, and a neologism created for children.”

The Top Hollywords of the 2009 with the largest impact on the English language with commentary follow.


1.       Pandora (Avatar) – There are 1,000 words in Na’vi language specifically constructed for Avatar, but the name of the alien planet is originally from classical Greek meaning ‘all blessings or gifts’.  The Pandora’s Box myth has the first mortal woman opening a box that holds all the ills of the world, which inadvertently escape.  A later version has all the blessings of the world escape except for hope, which remains.

2.       Hurt Locker (The Hurt Locker) – In GI vernacular, explosions send you into the ‘hurt locker’, synonymous with ‘a world of hurt’.

3.       Barley Pop (Crazy Heart) – Bad Blake’s reference to beer; similar to ‘oat soda’ and the like.

4.       Vampire (Twilight) – The living dead are enjoying an unprecedented revival in the 21st Century.  Undoubtedly, PhD fodder for sociologists of the future.

5.       Squeakquel – Any movie that gets millions of kids (and parents) to use a neologism with two qq’s in it, should be noted in an influential word list.

6.       December 21, 2012 (2012) – According to some, the end of the world so marked by the Mayan Calendar; actually it is simply the first day of the 14th b’ak’tun in the Long Count calendar of the Maya.

7.       Vichy (Inglorious Basterds) – Shosanna Dreyfus’ suggestion to Frederick on where to find ‘girlfriends’.  Yet another generation is introduced to the seemier side of the Free France narrative.

8.       Her (Star Trek) – “These are the voyages of the starship Enterprise. Her ongoing mission:  to explore strange new worlds, to seek out new life-forms and new civilizations; to boldly go where no one has gone before.”  Several hundred years from now, though ‘man’ is replaced by ‘no one’ in the mission statement, starships apparently proudly maintain their female gender status, ‘Her’.

9.       ‘Their’s but to do or die’  (The Blind Side) – Sean Tuohy teaches Charge of the Light Brigade to Michael.  When was the last time you recall the words of Alfred, Lord Tennyson being recited in a football movie — or anywhere else for that matter?

10.   Prawns (District 9) – Politically incorrect name for Space Aliens in District 9, since they seem to resemble crayfish, crawfish, or crawdads.

Previous Top HollyWord Winners:

2008     “Jai Ho!” Literally ‘Let there be Victory’ in Hindi from “Slumdog Millionaire”

2007     “Call it, Friendo,” from “No Country for Old Men”

2006     “High Five!!! Its sexy time!’ from “Borat!”

2005     ‘Brokeb ack’ from “Brokeback Mountain”

2004     “Pinot” from “Sideways”

2003     “Wardrobe Malfunction” from Super Bowl XXXVIII

The Global Language Monitor uses a proprietary algorithm, the Predictive Quantities Indicator (PQI) to track the frequency of words and phrases in the global print and electronic media, on the Internet, throughout the Blogosphere, as well as accessing proprietary databases.  The PQI is a weighted Index, factoring in: long-term trends, short-term changes, momentum, and velocity.