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Obama Narrative 2.0

Out-of-touch moves into No. 1 position over Deficit Spending; Oil Spill tops Health Care Reformer

Austin, Texas, July 24, 2010 – As the political calendar inexorably heads toward the Mid-term elections, the focus on President Obama’s competing ‘narratives’ continue to play out in the media.

Since his Oval Address on the Oil Spill, Obama’s personal narrative is being shaped by forces largely out of his control, such as the on-going Gulf drama.  These are how the five most prevalent competing narratives compare, according to Austin-based Global Language Monitor (GLM).  GLM has been monitoring the language of politics since 2003.

The ranking of the President’s five most prominent narrative arcs include:

  1. Obama as out-of-touch or aloof – This is up 1200% since the beginning of the year; this is the converse of Hope and Change.
  2. Obama and the deficit — Words linking Obama to deficit have increased some 2500% since the beginning of 2010.
  3. Obama and the Oil Spill — A very fast mover now ahead of Obama as Health Care reformer.  Could the completion of the relief well turn this around?
  4. Obama as HealthCare Reformer —    Losing steam quickly for the president’s signature achievement.
  5. Obama as the Chicago-style pol — A continued, steady rise in linking Obama to old-style Chicago politics.

“At this point, all five narratives in play are problematic for the president,” said Paul JJ Payack, GLM’s president and chief word analyst. “With the Mid-terms some hundred days away, the president needs a series of (possibly unexpected) positive events to stem this tide.”

Obama Narrative 2.0, the underlying storyline that will largely define the president in the run-up to the Mid-term elections and, possibly, for time remaining in his term.   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.

The NarrativeTracker Index  (NTI), the first product specifically designed to use social media-based monitoring to better understand the issues driving any particular topic. Because the NTI is based on the national discourse, it provides a real-time, accurate picture of what the public is saying about any topic, at any point in time. In addition to the NTI, the Narrative Tracker Arc™ follows the rise and fall of sub-stories within the main narrative to provide a comprehensive overview of the opinions surrounding a single issue.

NTI tracks the ‘narrative’ of a subject, as well as projecting future trajectories for the narrative.    The result has several advantages over traditional polls:  1) Immediacy; 2) The lack of any bias that tends to creep into traditional polling, e.g., when individuals answer questions with what they think are the ‘correct’ answers rather than their true opinions; and 3) NTI lets policy and decision makers focus on the true issues driving perceptions and concerns rather than being driven by false and phantom concepts.  In addition, the Narrative Tracker Arc™ follows the rise and fall of sub-stories within the main narrative.

NTI 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 NTI 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.

Top Word of 2009: Twitter

Followed by Obama, H1N1, Stimulus, and Vampire

“King of Pop” is Top Phrase; “Obama” is top name

Austin, TX November 29, 2009 – The Global Language Monitor has announced that Twitter is the Top Word of 2009 in its annual global survey of the English language.  Twittered was followed by Obama, H1N1, Stimulus, and Vampire. The near-ubiquitous suffix, 2.0, was No. 6, with Deficit, Hadron the object of study of CERN’s new atom smasher, Healthcare, and Transparency rounded out the Top 10.

In a year dominated by world-shaking political events, a pandemic, the after effects of a financial tsunami and the death of a revered pop icon, the word Twitter stands above all the other words.  Twitter represents a new form of social interaction, where all communication is reduced to 140 characters,” said Paul JJ Payack, President of The Global Language Monitor.  “Being limited to strict formats did wonders for the sonnet and haiku.  One wonders where this highly impractical word-limit will lead as the future unfolds.”

Read about it in the Guardian:  Twitter declared top word of 2009

WHY twitter is the most popular word of 2009 at the Huffington Post

CNET’s Don Reisinger on twitter

Mashable’s take: what else does social media have to conquer?

What it means that twitter is the 2009 Word of the Year (WeberShandwick)

The Poetry of Social Networks

The Top Words are culled from throughout the English-speaking world, which now numbers more than 1.58 billion speakers.

The Top Words of 2009

Rank/Word/Comments

1.         Twitter — The ability to encapsulate human thought in 140 characters

2.         Obama — The word stem transforms into scores of new words like ObamaCare

3.         H1N1 — The formal (and politically correct) name for Swine Flu

4.         Stimulus — The $800 billion aid package meant to help mend the US economy

5.         Vampire — Vampires are very much en vogue, now the symbol of unrequited love

6.         2.0 — The 2.0 suffix is attached to the next generation of everything

7.         Deficit — Lessons from history are dire warnings here

8.         Hadron — Ephemeral particles subject to collision in the Large Hadron Collider

9.         Healthcare — The direction of which is the subject of intense debate in the US

10.        Transparency — Elusive goal for which many 21st c. governments are striving

11.        Outrage — In response to large bonuses handed out to ‘bailed-out’ companies

12.        Bonus — The incentive pay packages that came to symbolize greed and excess

13.        Unemployed — And underemployed amount to close to 20% of US workforce

14.        Foreclosure — Forced eviction for not keeping up with the mortgage payments

15.        Cartel — In Mexico, at the center of the battle over drug trafficking

The Top Phrases of 2009

Rank/Phrase/Comments

1.         King of Pop — Elvis was ‘The King;’ MJ had to settle for ‘King of Pop’

2.         Obama-mania — One of the scores of words from the Obama-word stem

3.         Climate Change — Considered politically neutral compared to global warming

4.         Swine Flu — Popular name for the illness caused by the H1N1 virus

5.         Too Large to Fail — Institutions that are deemed necessary for financial stability

6.         Cloud Computing — Using the Internet for a variety of computer services

7.         Public Option — The ability to buy health insurance from a government entity

8.         Jai Ho! — A Hindi shout of joy or accomplishment

9.         Mayan Calendar — Consists of various ‘cycles,’ one of which ends on 12/21/2012

10.       God Particle — The hadron, believed to hold the secrets of the Big Bang

The Top Names of 2009

Rank/Name/Comments

1.         Barack Obama — It was Obama’s year, though MJ nearly eclipsed in the end

2.         Michael Jackson — Eclipses Obama on internet though lags in traditional media

3.         Mobama — Mrs. Obama, sometimes as a fashion Icon

4.         Large Hadron Collider — The Trillion dollar ‘aton smasher’ buried outside Geneva

5.         Neda Agha Sultan — Iranian woman killed in the post-election demonstrations

6.         Nancy Pelosi — The Democratic Speaker of the US House

7.         M.  Ahmadinejad — The president of Iran, once again

8.         Hamid Karzai — The winner of Afghanistan’s disputed election

9.         Rahm Emmanuel — Bringing ‘Chicago-style politics’ to the Administration

10.       Sonia Sotomayor — The first Hispanic woman on the US Supreme Court

The analysis was completed in late November using GLM’s Predictive Quantities Indicator (PQI), the proprietary algorithm that tracks words and phrases in the media and on the Internet, now including blogs and social media. The words are tracked in relation to frequency, contextual usage and appearance in global media outlets, factoring in long-term trends, short-term changes, momentum and velocity.

The Top Words of the Decade were Global Warming, 9/11, and Obama outdistance Bailout, Evacuee, and Derivative; Google, Surge, Chinglish, and Tsunami followed.  “Climate Change” was top phrase; “Heroes” was top name.

For Previous Words of the Year, go here.