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Social media's political pulse beats hard on Zavy's election tracker

There have been plenty of ups and downs in the election so far, and social media analytics platform Zavy, a company created by insights agency TRA, is tracking how Kiwis are reacting and responding with a clever election tracker tool. 

There have been plenty of ups and downs in the election so far, and social media analytics platform Zavy, a company created by insights agency TRA, is tracking how Kiwis are reacting and responding with a clever election tracker tool. 

The Auckland-based company draws directly from parties data on Instagram, Facebook and Twitter.

There are two parts to the tool; the Scoreboard shows the total number of interactions – a number of shares, likes and comments – while the Pulse presents the net sentiment for each party – positive comments minus negative comments – by date.

Sitting at zero would mean there are the same amount of negative reactions as positive for that party, with the thickness of the line correlating to the number of conversations had.

Users can scroll over the Pulse lines, bringing up the visual posts that had driven the activity.

Zavy's chief executive David Bowes says it's intriguing to see events played out in the media and their impact.

"It's really interesting stuff and we wanted to open it up to the public to have a look. As a small business [the tracker] is a great way for people to see what we do," he says.

Based on current activity, Kiwis interact with political parties on social media over 100,000 times in a seven day period, and Bowes says the biggest number of conversations happen on Facebook.

The idea for the tracker came about from watching social media use in the US elections.

"We were fascinated to see even though Donald Trump had his detractors on social media, so did Hillary Clinton. Even though Donald Trump had negative press he had a much stronger presence [online] and was really far ahead ... it was quite worrying [for Hillary] and that's how it played out. We wanted to see what happened closer to home," Bowes says.

He is quick to point out the tool is not predicting the election results, but is instead an aggregated and real time view of the sentiment, and volume, of public response on these channels. 

"Parties use social media to resonate and engage with viewers/voters ... looking at the peaks there have been many dramatic events of this election, such as leadership changes, so it will be fascinating to see how the next four weeks play out."