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Emoji Dubbed Oxford Dictionaries Word of the Year

Authors: Gabrielle Hughes Gabrielle Hughes
Posted Under: Social Media
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This Week in Realtime Media

Business: Marriott Aims for Hotel Domination

On Monday, Marriott International announced it would acquire Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide. With over 5,500 hotels in over 100 countries this merger will create the largest hotel chain in the world, including brands such as Ritz-Carlton, St. Regis, W, Sheraton, and Westin.

Starwood is renowned for its loyalty program, so of course, there was backlash by Starwood Preferred Guests after the news broke. By Wednesday, top Marriott-related headlines offered little focus on the acquisition itself, but rather the concern raised by SPG members:
Screen Shot 2015-11-18 at 2.00.15 PM

While the acquisition was a huge move for Marriott, those in the SPG camp are worried the level of personalization and the attention will disappear upon forthcoming hotel stays. In order to keep loyalty members happy, both Marriott and Starwood will have to ensure hospitality remains consistent as the two attempt to combine loyalty programs, their unique services and operations.

Tech: ? is ‘Word’ of the Year

Every week, we seem to have an emoji-related headline to #TWIRM about, and this one may be the biggest thus far…

For the first time ever, the Oxford Dictionaries’ Word of the Year is a pictograph. Formally known as the ‘Face with Tears of Joy’ emoji, this was chosen as the ‘word’ that best reflected the ethos, mood, and preoccupations of 2015.

Here at Zignal Labs, we’ve seen ? come up in mentions several times, especially since the 2016 election season kicked off. For instance, ? was at the center of each candidate’s emoji cloud during the GOP debate on October 28:

With ? as Word of the Year, only time will tell if other emojis follow suit with similar recognition. No doubt, 2015 was the year of emojis, and perhaps Oxford Dictionaries sums it up best: “Emojis are no longer the preserve of texting teens – instead, they have been embraced as a nuanced form of expression, and one which can cross language barriers.”

Politics: #DemDebate & Jindal’s Drop Out

Last Saturday night, the three remaining Democratic candidates in the 2016 Presidential race gathered in Iowa for their second televised debate. Although this affair lacked the intensity we see in most of the primetime GOP events, we still tracked nearly 370,000 mentions throughout the night.

As seen below, it was another weekend at Bernie’s, where Sanders made the most noise with 202,000 mentions, followed by Clinton with more than 152,000. Martin O’Malley was a distant third with 16,260:


O’Malley’s social media network is also much smaller than his two opponents. Sanders and Clinton were able to drive their own message on social media through their official Twitter accounts, but only one of O’Malley’s most popular tweets actually came from his Twitter profile:

Popular Tweets
Of the top issues for each of the candidates, here’s how they ranked during the two-hour debate:


And here were the top hashtags used in mentions of Sanders, Clinton, and O’Malley:


On the GOP front, yet another candidate has bit the dust in the race to the White House.

Tuesday, Bobby Jindal announced that he was no longer running for President. And while the Louisiana Governor did generate 1.3 media mentions during the course of his campaign, that figure is nothing in comparison to his competition. Donald Trump has pulled in over 36 million media mentions since announcing his candidacy. (Highlight to tweet)

Going into the week of his dropout, Jindal saw a sharp spike in volume as soon as the news broke. However, by Wednesday afternoon, he was back at the bottom of the mention mix.
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As we have seen in the past, when candidates drop out of the race, they are going to dominate headlines (even over the most talked-about figures) — BUT, the rise in mentions is always short-lived. As we get closer to Election Day, it will be interesting to see how candidates consistently pulling in mentions (Trump, Sanders, etc.) fare once they leave the race.

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