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Social Media Have Become Warrior Media

Social Media as a Strategic Weapon

By Edward ML Peters and Paul JJ Payack


Austin, Texas. March 1, 2011 — An analysis by the Global Language Monitor has found that a new weapon has recently been detected in the world’s strategic arsenal.

According to Paul JJ Payack, President and Chief Word Analyst of GLM, “To  the uninitiated, it might appear to be part neutron bomb, which destroys only living things with little collateral damage,   part some as yet unidentified weapon, which has the ability topple dictators, regimes and unsuspecting governments while rendering both living things and physical structures unharmed.

“We are speaking, of course, about Social Media (Twitter, Facebook, YouTube, etc.), which have the apparent ability to re-align the social order in real time, with little or no advanced warning.”

In June 2009, we named Web 2.0 the 1,000,000th word in Global English.  Many in the media were confused by our definition:

the next generation of products and services from the web, currently beyond imagination.  Later in 2009, we named Twitter the word of the year.  Some were surprised when we defined Twitter as ‘the ability to encapsulate human thought in 140 characters’.  They were thinking of Twitter as a means for BFFs to gratuitously unfriend each other.  We were thinking of it as a radical new form of communication.

Social Media is adhering to its etymological roots more tightly than one might expect.  The word ‘social’ ultimately derives from ‘secg,’ an Old English word for ‘warrior’.   The social media ‘warrior’ now understands that the role of social media is not a fad but a mechanism to better understand socio-economic trends and issues – in real time.

So it is even more surprising that the events of the last six weeks in the Middle East appear to have come as a shock to the Western Powers and Global Media.

Again.

Three years ago the media was shocked when an unexpected series of financial events set the global financial markets spinning out-of-control.  In retrospect, we now see that only the strongest intervention of the Western Central Banks prevented what was horrific into becoming something downright catastrophic.  The Western economies still suffer from the consequences.

A few month later, the media was shocked by the unprecedented run of a relatively unknown and untested Black man to the presidency to the United States.  (Undoubtedly, it would have been shocked if his primary nemesis, the current US Secretary of State, had successfully navigated her campaign to become the first female president of the United States.)

Then a year ago, the media was shocked by 1) the rise of the Tea Party, 2) the ‘shellacking’ the President took in the Mid-term elections, and 3) now the upheavals in the Middle Eastern world that appear to have come as a shock to both the Western Powers and Global Media.

At least we are consistent in our on-going sense of shock.

The question becomes why do we continue to be shocked whenever we witness this new reality foisted upon us by means of communications never before imagined?  Obviously, even to the casual observer, there is an on-going global transformation of  industries, wealth and influence as evidenced by the evolving role of nation-states, the rise of Non-governmental Organizations (NGOs), and the proliferation of trans-national causes and corporations – that is apparently out of the span of command of many contemporary institutions.

Read More From These Authors on The Hill

The question remains:  why the surprise? Why the sense of shock?   We’ve seen this all before, but have apparently lacked the vision to put it all together.  A common thread among recent strategic advances is that all are new forms of communications. We should keep this in mind and not dismiss social media as a passing fad for the young and foolish, but rather as new tools, new social instruments, or even strategic weapons that can, will and are having societal and strategic influences around the globe today.

So once again we have a list of surprises to confront:

  • People voting with their thumbs
  • Simultaneous uprisings in the Middle East
  • Long-ingrained totalitarian dictatorships falling
  • Christian and Muslim groups celebrating together

And our astonishment only continues to grow as the future unfolds.

After all, we’ve never seen anything like this before.

Again.



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Obama Echoes Lincoln and King in Dignified Tucson Memorial Address

Could presage a new narrative for the president

AUSTIN, Texas January 13, 2011  Echoing Lincoln, King, and, even, Bill Clinton, President Barack Obama gave his strongest speech, perhaps since his “Yes, We Can!” victory speech delivered in Chicago’s Grant Park last November.

The president delivered the speech with the cadence of a eulogy to the packed audience of some 12,000 at the University of Arizona’s McKale Memorial Center.  The crowd had none of the hallmarks of a hand-selected, pre-screened crowd that we have come to expect for such occasions; tickets were distributed on a first-come first-served basis.

Obama’s remarks echoed Lincoln and Martin Luther King in at least two respects: 1) the use of scriptural passages to set the tone, 2) and the emphasis on worthiness and living up to expectations of the children, particularly those of Cristina Green, the inspirational nine-year old girl, who was born on September 11, 2001.

Structurally, the address was nearly identical to his “Yes, We Can!” speech, Martin Luther King’s “I have a Dream,” and Lincoln’s “Gettysburg Address”.  Though delivered to differing audiences in different eras, the speeches each had nearly identical ‘understandability statistics’ in terms of grammatical constructions, rhetorical elements, tone and vocabulary.  In terms of empathetic concern, he echoed Bill Clinton, who was often referred to as the “Mourner in Chief” with his ‘I feel your pain’ mantra.

It was a somber, sorrowful message filled with future-related, hopeful constructions with words such as hope, light, and love  address delivered to a respectfully attentive crowd. With the 2010 Mid-term elections now in his wake, this can be an opportunity to begin a new narrative for the remainder of Obama’s term.



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Wikileaks declared English-language Word

Another New Media Company that Passes into the Language

AUSTIN, Texas December  21, 2010 – WikiLeaks.ch, which that has increasingly upped the ante of the kind of information that it leaks into the public sphere from anonymous sources, has been deemed an English language word by the Global language Monitor.  GLM recognizes a word as being part of the English language once it meets the requisite criteria of geographic reach as well as ‘depth and breadth’ of recorded usage.

In the case of wikileaks, the word appeared sporadically in the global media in 2006 until it has now been cited more than 300 million times, even with a quick Google search.  This, of course, correlates with WikiLeaks’ most recent release of diplomatic correspondence and other classified government information.  GLM standards include a minimum of 25,000 citations of a new term in the global media that encompass the English-speaking world, which now encompasses some  1.58 billion people.  (In 1960, there were about 250 million English speakers, mostly in former British colonies.)

“Wikileaks joins a number of new media and high technology companies whose names and functions are being incorporated into the language,” said Paul JJ Payack, President and Chief Word Analyst of Austin-based Global Language Monitor.  “These include Google, Twitter and the ‘friending’ function of Facebook.   The most recent language spin-off from Google appears to be Xoogler, referring to ex-Google employees who bring their talents to other start-ups.”

The word ‘wiki’ is Hawaiian in origin and is usually defined as ‘quick’ or ‘fast’ especially when used in rapid succession:  “wiki, wiki, wiki!”.  In computing, a wiki describes software that lets any user create or edit Web-server content.  The WikiLeaks organization was originally set-up as a ‘wiki’.

There is no official English language institution charged with maintaining the ‘purity’ of the English language and to maintain vigilance of the ‘corrupting influence’ of other languages.  English accepts any and all contenders as long as they meet the requisite criteria of geographic reach as well as depth and breadth of usage.  The L’Académie française is the official arbiter of the French language; it has famously  declared the word ‘email’ (as well as ‘hamburger’) verboten from official French correspondence.  The Royal Spanish Academy serves the same function for the Spanish language; it has recently eliminated two letters from the Spanish alphabet to the howl of Spanish speakers outside Spain.

The most recent words acknowledged by the Global Language Monitor include ‘refudiate’ a malapropism coined by Sarah Palin, ‘vuvuzela’ the brightly colored plastic horns made (in)famous at the South African World Cup, and ‘snowmageddon’ that President Obama used to described the winter storms that nearly shut down Washington, DC during the recent winter.



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Top Political Buzzwords and the Mid-term Vote

November 7, 2010

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The list of all the political buzzwords measured before the day before the Mid-term Elections in their final ranking .

1.  Lower Taxes

2.  Tea Party

3.  Recession (linked to Obama)

4.  Narrative

5.  Obama Frustration

6.  Sarah Palin

7.  Harry Reid

8.  Barack Obama

9.  Out-of-control Spending

10.  Middle-class taxes

11.   Obama Anger and Rage

12.  Climate Change

13.  Obama Aloof, detached, Prof

14.  Christine O’Donnell

15.   Iraq War

16.   Al qaeda

17.  Obama “oil spill” response

18.  Hillary Clinton Obama

19.  Raise Taxes

20.  Conservative Voter

21.  George Bush

22. Transparency politics

23.  Obama Muslim

24.  Financial meltdown

25.  Nancy Pelosi

26.  Liberal Voter

27.  Subprime

28.  Public Option in HealthCare

29.  Independent Voter

30.  Obama as a compromiser

31.  Recession (linked to Bush)

32.  Stimulus Package

33.  Obama Katrina

34.  Progressive Voter

35.  Surge

36.  Bush Katrina Response

37.  Rush Limbaugh

38.  Deficit Spending

39.  Shovel Ready

40.  BP Gulf Oil spill

41.  Healthcare Mandate

42.  Global Financial/economic Restructuring

43.  Dick Cheney

44.  Wall Street Bailout

45.  Outrage (Linked with Obama)

46.  Socialism (linked with Obama)

47.  Grand Zero Mosque

48.  Town Hall Meetings

49.  Healthcare reform

50.  AIG (Post-bailout Bonuses)

51.  Elena Kagan

52.  Afghanistan

53.  Great Recession

54.  Sotomayor

55.  Michelle Obama Vacation

56.  Anti-incumbent Vote

57.  Politics of fear

58.  Obama Chicago Pol

59.  Iran election/nuclear weapons

60.  Single Payer

61.  Worst Recession

62.  Birther

63.  Change you can believe in

64.  Economic Depression 2010

65.  Politics of change Obama

66.  Death Panel

67 .  Obamamania

68.  Refudiate

69.  Beer Summit (Gates & Cambridge Police)

70.  Wise Latina

71.  Wee weeing

72.  MObama (the Fashion Icon)

A Recession Neither Great Nor Small

What we are experiencing is not a recession, neither great nor small, but rather a global transference of wealth, power and prestige on an unprecedented level, carried out, in von Clausewitz’s words ‘by other means’.”

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Note:  This is the First in a series; you can see the second article directly above this one.


This post first appeared on TheHill.com

November 3, 2010.  It is about time that we admit that what we are experiencing is not a recession, neither great nor small, but rather a global transference of wealth, power and prestige on an unprecedented level, carried out, in von Clausewitz’s words “by other means”.

Originally alluded to as a “Financial Tsunami” or “Financial Meltdown,” the major global media seem to have gained a consensus on “The Great Recession”. In the beginning, most comparisons were being made to the Great Economic Depression of the 1930s, more familiarly known, simply, as “The Depression” in the same way that many still refer to World War II as “The War”. But even these comparisons frequently ended up referring to the recession of 1982, yet another so-called “Great Recession”.
Our recent analysis has shown that while the major print and electronic media have settled upon “Great Recession”, the rest of the Internet, blogosphere and social media world have largely eschewed the term. We believe the difficulty here stems from the fact that this economic crisis is difficult to express in words because it does not resemble any economic crisis in recent memory — but rather a crisis of another sort.

“On War” is one of the most influential books on military strategy of all time. Written by Prussian military theorist Carl von Clausewitz (1780 – 1831), it recorded one of his most respected tenets, “War is not merely a political act, but also a real political instrument, a continuation of political commerce, a carrying out of the same by other means,” which is frequently abbreviated to “War is diplomacy carried out by other means’.

We believe that the reason the “Great Recession” label does not now fit is because what we are experiencing is not a recession, neither great nor small, but rather a global transference of wealth, power and prestige on an unprecedented level, carried out “by other means”.

This fact has entrapped two U.S. presidents, from radically diverging political viewpoints, in the same dilemma: describing an economic phenomenon, that doesn’t play by the old rules. Hence, the difficulty experienced by President Bush as he struggled to describe how the U.S. economy was not in a recession since the GDP had not declined for two consecutive quarters, the traditional definition of a recession, even though jobs were being shed by the millions and the global banking system teetered on the brink of collapse. Now we have President Obama, attempting to describe how the U.S. economy has emerged out of a recession, though the collateral damage in terms of the evaporation of wealth, mortgages, and jobs remains apparently undaunted and unabated.

The regional or global transfer of wealth, power and influence, the destruction of entire industries and the so-called collateral (or human) damage are all hallmarks of what is now being experienced in the West.

If one carefully disassembles the events of the last decade or two, you can see them as the almost inevitable conclusion of a nameless war that began with the collapse of the Soviet Union, the embrace of a form of the free-market system by China, India and the other rising states, an almost unprecedented transfer of wealth from the Western Economies to the Middle East (energy) and South and East Asia (manufactured goods and services), and the substantial transfer of political power and influence that  inevitably follows.

It currently appears that the Western Powers most affected by these transfers cannot adequately explain, or even understand, their present circumstances in a way that makes sense to the citizenry, let alone actually reverse (or even impede) the course of history. In fact, the larger events are playing out while the affected societies seemingly default to the hope that they ultimately can exert some sort of control over a reality that appears to be both out of their grasp and control.

The good news here is that the transfers of wealth, power and influence has proven relatively bloodless but nonetheless destructive for the hundreds of millions of those on the front lines of the economic dislocations.

And it is in this context that the perceived resentment of the Islamic and Arab states should be more clearly viewed. This is especially so as they, too, watch helplessly as the new global reality and re-alignments unfold.

In conclusion, it can be argued that the reason the “Great Recession” label doesn’t seem to fit now is because what we are experiencing is not a recession, neither great nor small, but rather an on-going transformational event involving the global transfer of wealth, power and influence on an unprecedented level, carried out “by other means”.

Paul JJ Payack is president of Austin-based Global Language Monitor. Edward ML Peters is CEO of Dallas-based OpenConnect Systems. Their most recent book is “The Paid-for Option”, which describes how healthcare reform can actually pay for itself through the application of process intelligence and its attendant gains in productivity.



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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.]



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Obama’s final narrative: A negative mélange of historic proportions

Read it Where Lawmakers go to Express Their Opinions


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AUSTIN, Texas, November 1, 2010.  The final narrative for President Obama, twenty-four hours before the Mid-term Elections has evolved into a negative mélange of historic proportions.  This was reported by the Global Language Monitor (GLM), which has been tracking the narratives that have dominated the perception of the administration and its handling of both its achievements and crises.

In July, the President’s five most prominent narrative arcs included being out-of-touch or aloof; being responsible for the ever-increasing deficit; not responding with enough vigor or authority to the Gulf Oil Spill; the victory of pushing through Healthcare Reform; and gaining a reputation as a Chicago-style pol.  The President’s Oval Office Address on the Gulf Oil Spill seems to have been the temporal demarcation point between a positive or negative narrative carrying over into the 2010 Mid-term Election.  Since that time there are many who contend that Obama’s narrative has been shaped by forces largely out of his control. And indeed, this may be true.

In the following months no single narrative has risen above the others; on the contrary the five Obama Narratives have largely blended into a largely negative, yet muddled, story line.  The result has been an admixture of these five narratives, resulting in an unfortunate amalgam for the president and his party to overcome.

GLM has also been tracking political buzzwords for the last three election cycles. An analysis of the Top Buzzwords of the Mid-Term Elections completed yesterday, and published in a separate release, lend support to these conclusions.

Below is a list of the Obama narratives that have evolved through the last year.

1.     Obama as out-of-touch or aloof

This has only grown stronger over time.  Professorial has now been added to the mix, which is often considered condescending by certain academic communities.

2.     Obama and the deficit

Words linking Obama to deficit have steadily increased as those linking Bush to the deficit have declined.

3.     Obama and the Oil Spill

The completion of the relief well apparently did not provide the president with relief from the issue.  In fact, the President now has more negative ties to the Katrina inundation of New Orleans than George W. Bush.

4.     Obama as HealthCare Reformer

The president’s signature achievement has been largely avoided by members of his party for fear of the overall negative reception to the program adversely affecting their personal chances of (re-)election.  The mistake is explain away the frustration with how the bill was passed, where many had a first-hand look at congressional (and presidential) wheeling dealing as it best (or worst).

5.     Obama as the Chicago-style pol

This usually conveys the ability to make things happen — though in a stealthy, force-your-hand manner reminiscent of the days of cigar-filled back rooms.  Even this has been undone by the ongoing public perception of Obama’s seeming inability to get things done (in spite of the things he actually did).

GLM has been tracking political language for the last three election cycles   As we have detailed over the last two years, while in the midst of the positive media frenzy of the election and inauguration, we were already finding the elements of anger and outrage as one of the highest on record.    At that time, GLM examined the global print and electronic media for the seven days after the following events:  the 9/11 terrorist attacks, the start of the Iraq War, and the week after the Hurricane Katrina struck the Gulf Coast, and the awarding of the AIG bonuses.

The ranking of ‘outrage’ found in the media was surprising, even startling.

  1. The AIG Bonuses, 2009
  2. The 9/11 Terrorist Attacks, 2001
  3. Hurricane Katrina and the Inundation of New Orleans, 2005
  4. The start of the Iraq War, 2003

During the last several months our analysis shows that anger and rage largely have been replaced by frustration and disillusionment.In fact, our continuing NarrativeTracker analysis has found what appears to be a major disconnection between what is reported in the media and what is being discussed in Social Media and the rest of Cyberspace.  This includes a number of Media Memes that resonant among the media.

These Media Memes include:

1.     Outrage in the Electorate

To a large extent, the rise of Outrage in the electorate (accompanying the AIG bonuses) was overlooked while the focus was on the ebullience accompanying the Obama election and Inauguration.  Only this year have ‘anger’ and ‘rage’ become a focus — while the citations show that the electorate has moved beyond this Media Meme to ‘disappointment’ and ‘frustration’.

2.     The Great Recession

The electorate makes no distinction between Recession and Great Recession.  In fact, the Great Recession Media Meme is found to be used only in the elite media, while the electorate seems to believe that something far larger is taking (or has taken) place.  The analysis shows the underlying belief to be that that economy has undergone a structural change that will take years to mend, if ever. (They knew this when Bush tried to explain why the US, according to traditional definitions, was not yet in a recession, and again know this as today’s economists try to explain how the Great Recession is now over because we grew 2% in the last fiscal quarter).

3.     The Idea of Insurgency

The consensus is that there are now about one hundred, or fewer, congressional seats in play, which means that some 77% of the seats are basically locked in.  The idea of insurgency makes great headlines (and ensures a plethora of more great headlines as the future unfolds).  But the fact remains that a minimal number of congressional seats are now in play.

4.     The Tea Party

Tea Party ‘members’ have turned out to be older, better educated, and far more influential than their originally portrayal.  If the war in Afghanistan is fighting the last wars (the Surge in Iraq and the Vietnam ‘quagmire’ then viewing the Tea Party as anything other than a grass roots movement, was a mis-reading of the Obama ‘insurgency’ of ’07 and ’08.

5.      The 24-hour News Cycle

The 24-hour news cycle is true only insofar as the headlines constantly shift.  But the deeper currents are a much more prevailing force that apparently actually drive and shape events.  Focusing on the swirling froth of the ever-changing headlines, allows many to miss the structural changes that are occurring below – much like a tsunami is only apparently when the submerged wave finally hits the shoreline.GLM’s Top Political Buzzwords are based on the Narrative Tracker Index. Narrative Tracker is based on the national discourse, providing a real-time, accurate picture of what the public is saying about any topic, at any point in time. Narrative Tracker 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 next report will discuss the list of the Top Political Buzzwords of the 2010 Mid-term elections.

To read what the Top Buzzwords Tell Us about the Vote, Part I (The Vetting of the President), go here.

To read about the Top Political Buzzwords of the 2010 Mid-term Elections, go here.

Media:  For more information, please call 1.512.815.8836.

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.

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

The Vetting of the President

What the Top Political Buzzwords Tell Us About the Vote, Part I

AUSTIN, Texas,  October 4, 2010 — Recently, the Global Language Monitor (GLM) announced that the Top Buzzwords of the Mid-term Election.   GLM found that the buzzwords portrayed a strongly negative narrative that has increasingly entangled the president and his party.   The Top Ten Buzzwords included Narrative, Lower Taxes, Obama as a Muslim, Conservative, Climate Change, Liberal, Recession (linked to Obama), Hillary Clinton related to Obama, Tea Partiers, and Obama as Aloof, Detached, or Professorial.  In the interim GLM has found that Obama as a Smoker will break into the Top Ten when the list is updated two week hence.

This is the first of a number of reports that will analyze what the top political buzzwords seemingly tells us about the upcoming vote.

The first thing you notice about the Top Political Buzzwords of the Midterm Elections is that many concern President Obama as a person.  Two years into his presidency, this tells us something about the president’s relationship to the American people:   a good number of citizens are only now beginning to understand the president as a person.  And it is interesting to see that many news organizations, apart from the blogs and talk radio shows, are also following these citizens’ lead.  Only now is President Obama being ‘vetted’.

According to yourDictionary.com,  ‘to vet’ is the process ‘to examine, investigate, or evaluate in a thorough or expert way’.    In the throes of Obama-mania, many were apparently willing to take a chance on the engaging, handsome, thoughtful newcomer, especially after many eventful and exhausting years under his predecessor.   We read the autobiographies, we joined the explosive rallies, and we watched as the entire world seemed to yearn for a ‘regime change’ in the US.   We were, after all, the people we had been waiting for.   But in the ‘rush to victory’ we never really got to know the president.  not in the same way we knew, say, Hillary.

We’ve known Hillary, her husband, her daughter, her history, her religion, her schooling, her scandals, alleged or otherwise, the rumors, for better or for ill — we know Hillary.

And we knew John McCain’s life since Vietnam, Albert Gore’s roommate at Harvard, GBW’s stint as a cheerleader at Andover, John Kerry testifying before congress in ’69,  Bush pere , and Bush pere’s pere, Ronald Reagan since Bedtime for Bonzo, and so on. All of the above have decades of public service and have (or had) been vetted every which way possible, and then some.

An exception, of course, was Jimmy Carter, the peanut farmer from Plains, Georgia (and nuclear engineer) — as he first introduced himself to the nation.  Carter was elected to office at least partly as an antidote to what had transpired before him (Watergate), and was thought to be part of a national cleansing, a fresh start, a break with a troubled past.  And, like Obama, was relatively new to the political scene, and lightly vetted, when elected to the presidency.

In Barack Obama’s case he is more than a self-made man; Obama is a self-defined man.   In this he is not unlike John F. Kennedy with the legend of PT-109 and his Pulitzer-prize best-seller, Profiles in Courage, which was, perhaps, ghost-written.  Though JFK was a relative newcomer to the national scene, the stories of Joe Kennedy as a ‘rum-runner’ during Prohibition and his maternal grandfather ‘Honey Fitz’ Fitzgerald, the storied Boston politician, were circulating for decades before JFK stood for the presidency.

As a self-defined man, much of the traditional vetting provided by the media was compressed into a number of months, and much of that was taken directly from his autobiographies, Dreams from My Father and The Audacity of Hope. And so we are back to the self-defined man, to a large extent, vetting himself.

And so it is none too surprising that many of the buzzwords surrounding the Midterms are about Obama as a man, a person, a personality.

Comparing data from just before the 2008 general election, we see much the same patterns as today.  Citations about Obama’s religion, his supposed ‘aloofness,’ and even his smoking were much higher than what we had seen for other candidates (Bush, Kerry, Gore, etc.) in the previous two election cycles.

What we are seeing in the data appears to be a continuation of the process that ordinarily would have been ongoing  for a decade or more.  So the public vetting of the president continues on the Internet, in the Blogs, throughout Social Media, and in the print and electronic media, itself.

– Paul JJ Payack



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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.