Twitter even more extreme and aggressive than talkback radio

By By Amy Kellow | 12 November 2012

Twitter is rife with harsh consumer criticism of politicians Julia Gillard and Tony Abbott due to its unmoderated nature, much more so than talkback radio, according to a new study by Media Monitors.

Despite talkback radio generating heated political debates and heralding strong consumer opinions, it is no match for social networking giant Twitter, which hosts far more aggressive and extreme conversations thanks to its unmoderated nature.

The research was undertaken by media intelligence company Media Monitors, owned by Sentia Media, and studied talkback radio and Twitter conversations from mid-July to October 2012. It was measured using a 0-100 point scale, where a rating of 50 meant the consumer was neutral.

Sentia Media's group communications manger John Chalmers said 17% of all Twitter comments regarding Gillard and Abbott were ranked below 30, pointing to large percentage of users expressing a low sentiment, compared to only 1% of talkback radio comments dipping below that score.

Chalmers said: “As a medium, Twitter is more vitriolic than talkback radio, a fact which may come as a surprise. In our ongoing study of talkback and Twitter sentiment toward Prime Minister Gillard and Opposition Leader Tony Abbott, our analysis revealed that 17% of all Twitter comments received a rating below 30 while only 1% of talkback comments rated beneath that score."

The study contended that the number was higher on Twitter because talkback radio can monitor its calls and control conversation.

"Although both media provide a sense of anonymity and thus an opportunity for soap boxing, Twitter conversations tend to be even more extreme or vitriolic – contrary to common perception - as it is not a moderated medium.

"In contrast, on talkback the host plays a significant role in the direction of the conversation, callers are screened and can be cut off," the report said.

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