Numbers, Facts and Trends Shaping Your World

On Twitter, iOS 5 is the Apple of Their Eye

PEJ New Media Index June 6-10, 2011

[if gte mso 9]

Twitter users weighed in quickly and voluminously to Apple’s introduction of its new iOS 5 operating system. Reaction to the June 6 rollout accounted for nearly one-third (31%) of the news links from June 6-10, according to the New Media Index from the Pew Research Center’s Project for Excellence in Journalism.

The day after the June 6 announcement, social media users were already downloading the upgrade, which had already been released for developers—and which includes more than 200 new features for the iPhone and iPad—by following steps to get a beta

version of the upgrade before it was made public by using a backdoor. And they were providing followers with detailed reviews and commentary along the way.

[if gte mso 9]

Their verdict was largely positive.

“Day 2 with iOS 5 Beta: Impressed. New Music app rocks. iMessages are pretty flawless (albeit “jumpy”), Apple nailed Notification Center,” tweeted Arron Hirst, in what was a typical response to the new product.

In the often technology-heavy Twitter conversation, no subject generates more consistent interest than the doings at digital media giant Apple. Couple that with a central function of acting as a kind of social media consumer reports for new tech products and gadgets, and this release was ready made for the Twitter entourage.

The rest of the top stories on Twitter last week did not come close to generating the attention of the iOS 5. No. 2, at 6% of the links, was a video of a drunk man stumbling around after leaving an awards show in London. That was followed by a story about how passengers’ electronics can, in fact, harm airplanes in flight (4%).

Coming in 4th, was the fallout from Congressman Anthony Weiner’s June 6 admission of sending inappropriate photos and messages to a number of women. But at just 4% the story generated much less attention here than in the mainstream press last week.

The No. 5 story was an article about innovation in resource efficiency, the concept of creating economic value out of a more creative use of natural resources (4%).


Whenever Apple releases a new product, or even when there are simply rumors about a product, Twitter users get excited. And last week, the new iOS 5 operating system generated a lot of specific evaluations.

“Love the new notification center. iOS 5 Just slide down from the time bar at the top,” wrote Grant Luckey.*

“Surprise! Apple Has Also Built Social Contact Integration With Facebook, Flickr, LinkedIn and Myspace Into iOS 5,” said Liz Gannes.

Many Mac and tech blogs wrote about the issue, also focusing on individual features of the update.

“Apple to finally deliver 1080P video playback on iOS devices with iOS 5 #appleinc #iosdevices,” wrote 9to5mac, using the popular Twitter hash tags.

“In iOS 5, The Weather App Is Location Aware,” wrote

“iOS 5 To Feature Nuance Voice Controls At Launch?,” tweeted another blog, Geeky Gadgets.

There were a few less-than-satisfied users.

“The 7 Most-Wanted Features STILL Missing from iOS 5,” Alex Schleber tweeted, linking to an article listing the missing features.

But others questioned why anyone would complain about the latest innovation.

“why are people mad that iOS 5 is not compatible with 3G? that’s like being mad that Windows 7 doesn’t run on your pentium 1,” quipped Marc D’Amico.

In the Blogosphere: Health Care, Guns and Japanese Tourists

The discussions in the blogosphere last week focused on several hot button issues—including health care, guns, the drug war and the presidential campaign.

[if gte mso 9]

The No. 1 subject, with 15% of news links was a story about how three federal judges in Atlanta posed skeptical questions during oral argument, suggesting they might be ready to declare all or part of the health care law unconstitutional. The large majority of bloggers who weighed in were pleased that the bill signed by President Obama was under legal challenge. 

The second-biggest subject (13%) was a BBC story about Japanese tourists getting “Paris syndrome”—becoming stressed when visiting the city because of rude Parisians or high expectations. It attracted attention last week when The Guardian revisited the topic and linked to the original BBC piece after noticing it was getting buzz on Twitter.

The third-biggest story, with 9% of links, was an article about the police chief in Los Angeles urging the passage of a law requiring BB guns to be brightly colored to avoid confusion with firearms. That generated comments from gun-rights advocates who argued that criminals would paint regular firearms in bright colors.

The No. 4 story (6%) was about how the war on drugs in Central America has not been very successful. That was closely followed (also at 6%) by news of likely GOP presidential hopeful Jon Huntsman choosing to bypass the Iowa caucuses.

Health Care and the Courts

Conservative bloggers last week cheered the circuit court’s apparent skepticism about the constitutionality of the health care bill that was signed last year after a long and bitter political battle.

“Is it possible? Could a branch of our government still have the common sense to save us from this humongous over-stepping of governmental authority?” asked Have Some Sense, “Hopefully the Judicial will come to the rescue. In this case, law-making is like baseball; 1 for 3 is not too bad.”

“Granted, granted, a tough oral argument is no guarantee of defeat, but the mere possibility of O-Care crashing and burning in the 11th Circuit is tasty enough to be blogworthy,” wrote Republican Heritage.

“I certainly hope they rule in favor of the Constitution, but the SCOTUS hasn’t always been so favorable to liberty.  While I look forward to the day when the SCOTUS rules the entire law unconstitutional, I much prefer Congress completely repealing it,” wrote Chris Bounds at Liberty Juice.

“…Things are looking up,” added MaxRedline.

Guns and Paint

A number of bloggers jumped on the LAPD BB gun story, arguing that criminals would paint their guns in bright colors so that police would think they were BB guns.

“If i were a violent criminal in LA, then I would paint my real gun to look like a colored toy or BB gun and that will cause the officer to delay that critical shot,” wrote M.J. Mollenhour at

“Okay, so what happens when criminals start painting their real guns in bright neon colors?” wrote dcr Blogs.

“Don’t worry criminals don’t know about Duracoat or Krylon,” said The Gun Guy Next Door.

[if gte mso 9]


On YouTube, Sarah Palin and her much-publicized “One Nation” bus tour drew the most attention last week.

The No. 1 and No. 5 videos focused on Palin’s June 2 stop at the Old North Church in Boston where she offered her own version of Paul Revere’s famous Midnight Ride.

Palin said that Revere, “warned the British that they weren’t going to be taking away our arms by ringing those bells and making sure as he’s riding his horse through town to send those warning shots and bells that we were going to be sure and we were going to be free, and we were going to be armed.”

That statement, as was quickly pointed out in many quarters of the media, does not exactly fit with the historical record.

[if gte mso 9]

[if gte mso 9]

Most Viewed News & Politics Videos on YouTube For the Week of June 4-10, 2011

1. A clip from a local news program of Sarah Palin offering her own version of Paul Revere’s famous Midnight Ride
2. Barcelona soccer star Lionel Messi assaulted by a Rosario Central fan on the streets of his native city of Rosario, Argentina
3.The June 1 edition of the Philip DeFranco Show where the host talks about a number of topics including FEMA, the death of a 13 year-old boy in Syria, and Blake Lively
4. The June 2 edition of the Philip DeFranco Show where DeFranco talks about topics such as the global war on drugs and YouTube
5. Another local news story clip of Sarah Palin’s explanation of Paul Revere’s Midnight Ride


The New Media Index is a weekly report that captures the leading commentary of blogs and social media sites focused on news and compares those subjects to that of the mainstream press.

PEJ’s New Media Index is a companion to its weekly News Coverage Index. Blogs and other new media are an important part of creating today’s news information narrative and in shaping the way Americans interact with the news. The expansion of online blogs and other social media sites has allowed news-consumers and others outside the mainstream press to have more of a role in agenda setting, dissemination and interpretation. PEJ aims to find out what subjects in the national news the online sites focus on, and how that compared with the narrative in the traditional press.

A prominent Web tracking site Icerocket, which monitors millions of blogs, uses the links to articles embedded on these sites as a proxy for determining what these subjects are. Using this tracking process as a base, PEJ staff compiles the lists of links weekday each day. They capture the top five linked-to stories on each list (25 stories each week), and reads, watches or listens to these posts and conducts a content analysis of their subject matter, just as it does for the mainstream press in its weekly News Coverage Index. It follows the same coding methodology as that of the NCI. Note: When the NMI was launched in January 2009, another web-tracking site Technorati was similarly monitoring blogs and social media. PEJ originally captured both Technorati’s and Icerocket’s daily aggregation. In recent months, though, this component of Technorati’s site has been down with no indication of when it might resume. 

The priorities of the bloggers are measured in terms of percentage of links. Each time a news blog or social media Web page adds a link to its site directing its readers to a news story, it suggests that the author of the blog places at least some importance on the content of that article. The user may or may not agree with the contents of the article, but they feel it is important enough to draw the reader’s attention to it. PEJ measures the topics that are of most interest to bloggers by compiling the quantitative information on links and analyzing the results.

For the examination of the links from Twitter, PEJ staff monitors the tracking site Tweetmeme. Similar to Icerocket, Tweetmeme measures the number of times a link to a particular story or blog post is tweeted and retweeted. Then, as we do with Icerocket, PEJ captures the five most popular linked-to pages each weekday under the heading of “news” as determined by Tweetmeme’s method of categorization. And as with the other data provided in the NMI, the top stories are determined in terms of percentage of links. (One minor difference is that Tweetmeme offers the top links over the prior 24 hours while the list used on Icerocket offers the top links over the previous 48 hours.)

The Project also tracks the most popular news videos on YouTube each week.

*For the sake of authenticity, PEJ has a policy of not correcting misspellings or grammatical errors that appear in direct quotes from blog postings.

Note: PEJ’s weekly News Coverage Index includes Sunday newspapers while the New Media Index is Monday through Friday.

Icon for promotion number 1

Sign up for our weekly newsletter

Fresh data delivery Saturday mornings

Icon for promotion number 1

Sign up for The Briefing

Weekly updates on the world of news & information