Twitter metrics show extent of backlash against Weiner

 Image: AP/Kathy Willens

Image: AP/Kathy Willens

"Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice, shame on me."

For the second time in just over two years, Anthony Weiner, the former New York congressman and NYC mayoral hopeful, held a press conference apologizing for sending explicit photos to women over the Internet. 

In 2011, his indiscretions forced him to resign from Congress. This time, however, Weiner says he isn't going anywhere and will remain in the race for mayor of New York City. 

But will the voting public let Weiner (and his alter-ego, 'Carlos Danger') off the hook yet again? Using Twitter as a barometer to gauge the public's reaction to Weinergate-2, early indications suggest the serial sexter's luck may be running out. 

According to social analytics firm Topsy, since news of the latest scandal broke, there have been 234,543 tweets containing the word 'weiner' (as of the writing of this post). The peak occurred between 5:00 pm and 6:00 pm EST on July 23, when 26,256 tweets using that term were sent in the course of an hour. 

 Image: Topsy

Image: Topsy

That's a big increase over the previous week, in which the word 'weiner' featured in just 29,505 tweets - only about 10% of the volume we've seen in the past few days.

But even more interesting is the tone of the tweets that are being sent. The 'Topsy Sentiment Score' ranges from 0-100, with 50 being neutral. The higher the score, the more positive the subject matter of the tweets is considered to be. On July 21, Weiner's Topsy Sentiment Score was an admirable 72 (based on 3,463 tweets). On July 22, his score had plummeted to 29 (based on 90,929 tweets). As of the writing of this post, the the sentiment score for the word 'weiner' on Twitter is at 19. 

 Image: Topsy

Image: Topsy

To be effective, apologies need to be swift and sincere. They also need to include a plan of action so that you're showing how you will fix the problem, remedy those affected or prevent it from happening again. As we've seen many times in the past, the public has demonstrated its capacity to grant second chances to individuals and companies that have made mistakes, apologized for them and corrected themselves. Given the fact that Weiner has been leading in the polls for the New York Mayor's job until recently, it would appear that many in the public had chosen to forgive his past indiscretions. 

How likely will they be, however, to grant a candidate for one of the most high-profile political jobs in the United States a third chance after he's made the same mistake yet again? Or has his public image been tarnished for good this time around?

Only time will tell.