Tuesday, 22 February 2011

Cameron's Middle East Speech bombs on Social Networks

As part of our political analysis we often follow hashtags during speeches to get a sense of how the active twittershpere is reacting to an event. Today during David Cameron's speech in Kuwait we tracked the #Cameron hashtag in twitter.

Even though Cameron's speech seems to have been an effort to establish a better dialogue in the face of the Arab revolt, it was not taken that way by many on Twitter. On Twitter the response was overwhelmingly negative, with few positive statements.

Some examples.

: You'll have peace if you buy our weapons.

BirmSWP tours East, not to support democracy, but to sell weapons. gu.com/p/2n9t6/tw.Solidarity with ME, let drive Cameron out now!

Ben White: after platitudes in Egypt, UK PM tours Gulf dictators with arms manufacturers

Robert Steadman David hits a new moral low: spending the next 3 days trying to sell arms to Arab dictatorships.

There was some positive response to the speech as it started for example:

jockstrap "david of arabia" is giving news conference on from Kuwait soon not to be missed

But as the speech progressed something clearly went wrong, at least with the Twitter community bothering to post to #Cameron. The hastag space became more and more filled with ridicule and even statements of disgust.

woodyk35 posted in to the speech:

Kay Wood I feel sick in my stomach watching of Arabia, touring with arms dealers, showing the world he's insensitive, ignorant& ill advised

Liam Barrington-Bush In terms of discretion + decency, how does 's mission to now, compare to the NRA rally in Colorado post-Columbine?

Still Camerons speech was not without some fans:

Mathew Smith Anyone know who wrote David 's speech to the National Assembly? It was really good.

But that is the only positive response we saw, more common are negative expressions.

Taji Mustafa B4 dust settled in Tahrir Sq, arrived to ensure ’s generals continue 2 serve Western agenda as did 4 last 30yrs

This contrasts very significantly with the speech that Obama recently gave on Egypt. It also shows how the global cybercommunity, troubled by events in Libya, is growing frustrated with long standing policies of Western regimes that involved large profits for Western firms.

Cameron may have very well accidentally stumbled in to a hostile meme in the social network space, and at least there he suffered another major twitter thrashing.

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