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Retweeting the Rescue

This post was written by Erin Hoffman, a social media analyst at Cision.

The dramatic rescue of 33 trapped Chilean miners had half the world riveted to their TVs, radios and computer screens. For social media monitoring and analysis, it was an ideal case study of retweet behavior. Since they individually tweeted each rescue, we chose @CNNLive as our outlet to analyze, and gathered all retweets of their announcements. Since analyzing activity from one outlet is different than analyzing an entire conversation, the results were surprising and revealed some interesting principles.

  1. Timing was everything. Over all, the most attention was given to the rescue announcements between 8 a.m. and 1 p.m., when social media users are most active.
  2. Milestones got the most attention and reach. Daniel Herrera, the 16th and middle miner to be rescued, received the most attention, probably because of the combination of milestone significance and timing.
  3. There were less than ten retweets each of @CNNLive’s announcements for the 17th through 32nd miners, despite the timeframe (afternoon to evening) being more amenable to attention. Since the rescue system had proven itself effective, the “conflict” of the story was mitigated, and users assumed a passive role until the final announcement.
  4. Stories, not facts, were retweeted more often. The 12th, 14th and 15th announcements were heavily retweeted, probably because they included biographical information about the miners (i.e. “Elvis fan Edison Pena is the 12th Chilean miner…”). The 9th miner may have drawn attention because he has the same name as athlete Mario Gomez.
  5. Stories may be stronger identifiers than names. Since stories garnered wide retweeting, one would expect the rescue of the 21st miner, whose wife and lover confronted each other at Camp Hope, to have been retweeted. However, @CNNLive did not mention the scandal in their tweet, and apparently few media consumers remembered the miner by name.
  6. Monitoring social media activity as an episode develops will allow professionals to make informed, effective decisions in the heat of the moment.

About Cision Staff

Cision's research staff makes over 20,000 media updates to Cision's Media Database each day! For more updates and other thought leadership in the industry, follow @Media_Moves.

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