To be fair to all, hashtagging can be a perilous and uncertain activity. Four different hashtags could each claim a piece of the conversational action today, although #Budget was the clear leader. The chart below, while accompanied by the customary disclaimers of real-time analysis (and slightly skewed by yesterday’s post-budget controversy in Canada), gives a strong indication of the relative hashtagging volumes over the past 24 hours.
While many of these hashags appeared in the same tweets, this was noticeably less true of tweets marked #BBCBudget, which, when it appeared, tended to be the only hashtag used. This had the effect of siloing the conversation around influential voices such as Robert Peston‘s.
A quick scan of the most prevalent words used in the respectively tagged tweets highlighted distinct content themes within these silos. One example: #Budget11 taggers frequent referenced and/or messaged relevant Government accounts (@hmtreasury, @enparliament) who were also using these tags and driving their usage; those using #BBCBudget, on the other hand, were of course more likely to reference official BBC feeds.
But the real people’s voice – that is, tweets tagged with the dominant #Budget – spoke clearly enough. One Twitter account clearly emerged from this coverage: @ladpolitics – Ladbrokes’ political betting account – riding high on the oft-retweeted news of what was, with hindsight, an all-too predictable payout.