Wondering what the difference between mainstream media and Joe Sixpack is? Take a look at the types of questions directed at President Barack Obama by Twitter users compared to those asked by White House journalists, in an outstanding visualization by the Boston Globe.

Twitter hosted a live video Twitter Town Hall on July 6 by Twitter, during which the President chatted with the microblog service’s Executive Chairman, Jack Dorsey. (Note his fantastic posture!) During the town hall President Obama answered tweets made by users with the #AskObama hash tag.

The Boston Globe took samples of the tweets with the hash tag made before the event started, and compared them with questions asked by journalists during the past two weeks of White House briefings. The chart breaks the questions into subjects and the percentage of who asked what.


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Let’s play a game.

A. Who do you think asked the most questions about jobs?

B. Who asked the most questions about congress?

C. Who had more questions about marijuana?

D. Who asked about immigration the most?

Answers follow!

A. 12 percent of tweets included the terms “job” or “employment,” while only three percent of journalists used the terms in their questions. This was the most popular subject for Twitter users, followed by the subject of the “deficit” with seven percent.

B. 24 percent of journalists asked questions pertaining to “congress,” as opposed to two percent of Twitter users. This was the most common subject for journalists, followed by “deficit” and “parties” (i.e. “republican” and “democrat,” not frat.)

C. Less than two percent of Twitter users asked about “marijuana.” No journalists asked questions about this topic.

D. 1.1% of twitter users and 1.3% of journalists asked questions pertaining to immigration. It was one of the least popular subjects.


VB’s research team is studying web-personalization... Chime in here, and we’ll share the results.