I thought it would be interesting to compare yesterdays UK budget speech with reaction to it on twitter. It’s one of those events where a message is ‘broadcast’ and you can then judge how it was ‘received’ by analysing relevant tweets.

People often use wordclouds for this kind of thing, but there are usually better ways to compare the information. Here is a wordcloud showing what the Chancellor actually said in the house yesterday…

Chancellors Budget Speech

…and here’s one showing all of the tweets using the #budget hashtag made while the Chancellor was speaking.

Twitter Budget Reaction

It’s hard to see the difference. If you spend a long time with it you can pick up words that are larger in one than the other, but it’s hard work. In these cases a simple old bar graph is much easier to interpret. Here’s one which looks at the top twenty or so words (having removed one’s which aren’t useful for a comparison).


This time it’s much easier to ‘spot the difference’. On twitter the words “Duty” and “Cut” featured much more heavily than in the Budget speech. The Chancellor didn’t use the word “Beer” at all. When the Chancellor referred to figures – Osborne used the word “Billion” many times – that didn’t feature particularly on twitter.

So can we draw any useful insight from the relative word frequencies? If there is a difference between the message sent and the message received, it’s that people* resonate more when it comes to changes in duty and cuts than they do when it comes to business and figures (even if they are in the billions). No surprise there then.

*more accurately… people who tweet about budgets




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