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Snowden at SXSW: What was your take?

snowden2One of the more controversial events happening at South by Southwest this year is the talk with Edward Snowden, the infamous NSA whistle-blower. It was announced on March 4th that this talk would occur today, the 10th, remotely from Russia where he’s received asylum, and livestreamed by The Texas Tribune. When the event was announced, volume surrounding the topic peaked at nearly 13k posts across all media types, with nearly 12k of those posts coming from Twitter.

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Of course, opinions about inviting Snowden to speak ran the gamut from singing the praises of free speech and commending the event organizers for making this happen…

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…to comments of those calling it a mistake to give a “traitor” the floor.

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Prior to the day of the event, negative sentiment ruled at 75%. So now that Snowden has spoken, what changes have occurred in volume and sentiment?

Once taking the stage, accusing the NSA and its counterparts of “setting fire to the future of the Internet,” we can see a significant surge in the volume of posts, at over 40k – the majority of those coming from Twitter.

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 From two hours before his talk to an hour after, positive vs. negative posts came in increasingly polarizing levels. At the largest peak, when the talk began, there were 701 negative versus 110 positive posts. While some of these posts were deemed negative because of their mentions of bad video feed, the event’s unfortunate timing alongside the talk with Lena Dunham, or just the nature of the controversy of Snowden and his doings itself, there were still generally more people complaining about the presence of Snowden at SXSW.

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So what do you think about it? Were you excited to hear about Snowden’s speech and his arguments for protecting the privacy of Americans? Or do you feel that a traitor who puts national security at risk should not be invited to speak freely by an American oganization/event? Let us know in the comments.

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