All the world’s a stage and on #Budget2016 night, Twitter is where it’s played out.

Anthony Mason, Manager, Social media intelligence
Anthony Mason, Manager, Social media intelligence

Budget night is a veritable bonanza of the political and business aficionados on Twitter. There is normally opinion, humour and tension that makes for gripping reading, and if you miss it, it’s like you’ve been absent from a social event – sometimes it can be important to be involved just to show face. People might ask if you’ve been unwell.

In addition to the obvious e-social side of the event, it’s a chance for advocates, business and community leaders to say something with the eyes of the nation’s movers and shakers watching – to take up the inches of the phone or tablet with something that gets the reader to double take and think twice about an issue, a budget decision or an organisation.

There were many who made their mark.

One thing we learnt is that it’s not always what is spoken about most on the stage that attracts the most attention. Analysis of the Twitter fallout from the budget has revealed some surprising findings about what the punters were saying and what they care about.  For all of the highly visible media discussion about income tax cuts, crack downs on multinational corporate tax evasions and company tax rate cuts – it was Health and Education that proved themselves to be the bankable issues as raised by social media users.  Interestingly too, a conversation about foreign aid was a dark horse that has gone under many radars.

While Twitter users might be short on characters to type their messages, they are certainly not short of memory – with many users comparing previous budgets to draw narratives and make thematic claims about this Coalition Government, which has now delivered its third budget.

Using Bottlenose, and KPMG’s stringent search criteria to ensure accuracy, there were 75,455 mentions of the budget yesterday by 11pm, 32,000 on last year for the same time period. Being a multifaceted announcement, sentiment was mixed with key users generally more coy than in previous years.

The top 10 discussed policy areas for the budget were as follows:

Table

Noted truants were the National Broadband, Disability Support and Detention Centres, which might otherwise have attracted more focus.

But the government continues to struggle, on social media, with its reputation with respect to Health and Education.

Education particularly, and the announcement of the attempted de-regulation of university fees continues to be a thorn in the side for the government, even though this policy was first announced back in the 2014 Federal Budget, and has been shelved for the moment.

The Bottlenose Sentiment Rating was a very middling (15). The min. is -100 and Max.100.  Up slightly from last year’s Sentiment Rating of (13).

The top tweet, as far as impressions and retweets goes, is interesting as it is global news, reflecting the UK’s corporate tax avoidance issue.

Top tweetWith an election looming, it could be an extended period of intense political and business dialogue on Twitter. Our elections are becoming more social – politicians are doing it better, and we are likewise expecting more from them.

Who knows, perhaps a seat or two could be won by a convincing social media campaign? Or lost by a few hours of viral content.

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