PEJ New Media Index: Obama, Apple and an Oracular Octopus Lead the Social Media

  • July 26, 2010

The social media universe put two of the biggest names in politics and technology under the microscope last week, highlighting their perceived failures. Bloggers seized on the public's falling confidence in President Obama while Twitter users savored an opportunity to take issue with Apple Inc. over the company's newest gadget.

For the week of July 12-16, the No. 1 subject on blogs (at 20% of the news links), was a new Washington Post poll showing diminished public confidence in Obama's ability to make the right decisions, according to the New Media Index from the Pew Research Center's Project for Excellence in Journalism.

The July 13 story about the poll, which measured confidence of both political parties, by Post staff writers Dan Balz and Jon Cohen, reported that the public's faith in the president hit a new low since his election, with just 43% of voters expressing confidence in him. The news was worse for members of Congress, who inspired even less confidence among Americans.

Conservatives and liberal bloggers alike saw the lower ratings as grim news for President Obama. But some liberals, examining a wider set of numbers from the poll, saw problems for Republicans—the data accompanying the report showed that public confidence in congressional Republicans was even lower than confidence in either congressional Democrats or Obama.

On Twitter, the No. 1 subject last week was widespread scorn for Apple. Although Twitter posts often contain little commentary, some users in this case voiced pointed dissatisfaction with the computer giant's handling of the reception problem on the iPhone 4—and that was before Apple announced on July 16 that it would provide free phone covers to remedy the problem.

That topic generated 16% of news links on the site.

Read the full report, Obama, Apple and an Oracular Octopus Lead the Social Media on the Pew Research Center's Project for Excellence in Journalism Web site.