They Really Do Hate Us … at Least on Twitter

From AhramOnline, on research analyzing Twitter:

In the case of Egypt, the researchers analyzed more than 2.2 million Arabic tweets that mentioned the United States and found just three percent could be termed pro-American, with 23 percent neutral and the majority critical of the United States.

Ok, so they hate our foreign policy – no big news there. But the following is more disturbing:

By contrast, about 30 percent of those tweeting in Arabic about Hurricane Sandy expressed concern about Americans or defended Americans.

Only 30 percent? Ugh. I hope there is some confusion in reporting or answering, between ‘concern’ and ‘defended’. But this doesn’t reflect well, I’m afraid.

So how to interpret the general conclusion:

“Reactions to cases where the US is influencing Middle Eastern affairs are 95 percent to 99 percent negative,” Keohane said.

Is our foreign policy just really bad? Or are we inept at PR, at least in comparison to local outfits? The research showed these numbers hold no matter what side of the domestic divide these tweets support.

I generally think that ‘winning hearts and minds’ is an overblown concept. But in as much as it is a policy goal, the US is failing miserably … at least on Twitter.

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