A public address. From the user master alarm on Flickr.

A public address. From the user master alarm on Flickr.

There’s an old adage web marketers love to follow: “all attention is good attention.” In the marketing and advertising worlds, any attention to a brand is traditionally thought to help the brand out. After all, it brings the company into the spotlight, so more people hear about it and eventually buy their products… right?

We all know how dangerous assumptions can be. So, recently, I was able to test the aforementioned publicity theory. Last week, a television personality for one of the biggest news organizations in the world said something controversial on-air, and using publicly available data, I was able to track the sentiment and overall effect to his Twitter account. Because Twitter has become a central hub for the current generation to voice their concerns and complaints, it was a great method to understand how the general public felt about this news celebrity.

Now, the two main metrics that I wanted to track were new followers and mentions over a 24 hour period, starting when the person first made the comments. Whereas follower growth is pretty black and white (an increase in followers is good, a decrease is bad), mentions are a bit more of a grey area. Some of the mentions can just be people linking to articles about this person, others can be a upbeat show of support, while even more can be a harsh attack.

So, let’s dive in. On an average day, this personality gains approximately 30 new followers  and receives 30 mentions per day. Let’s discuss how they fared on the day of controversy.

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