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Twitter and the Polls: Tracking the Republican Primaries with TweetReach

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Here in the United States, we’re right in the middle of the Republican primaries as the country tries to decide who the GOP nominee for President will be in our election later this year. One of the more interesting conversations around the 2012 Presidential election is the relationship between what people say on Twitter and what they do at the polls. Can we use Twitter conversations to predict election winners? Or, if they can’t predict results, what can tweets tell us about how potential voters feel about the candidates?

With Super Tuesday approaching and the GOP candidate field still wide open, we’ve been tracking tweets about the six top candidates for the Republican Presidential nomination since January 1 – Newt Gingrich, Jon Huntsman, Ron Paul, Rick Perry, Mitt Romney, and Rick Santorum. From those tweets, we built an interactive visualization of how Twitter talks about the GOP candidates, and how that relates to poll numbers over time.

Check out our interactive Republican primary Twitter tracker here or click on the screenshot below.

To create this visualization, we’re using a set of TweetReach Pro Trackers to track Twitter conversation about each of the candidates, along with our API to update the visualization daily. In the visualization, we’ve mapped the number of unique Twitter users talking about a candidate to the y-axis, polling results to the x-axis, and tweet volume to the circle radius. Polling data is from RealClearPolitics.

Written by Jenn D

March 5th, 2012 at 11:55 am

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A night at the Oscars: What did Twitter think about the 2012 Academy Awards?

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The 84th annual Academy Awards were held this weekend. As we’ve seen in years past, Twitter has a lot to say about the Academy Award winners, losers (non-winning nominees?), and the show in general.

This year, we tracked tweets about the Oscars – more than 2 million of them - throughout the show’s broadcast on Sunday, February 26, 2012, and collected them in our Academy Awards Twitter Explorer. Click around the explorer to see when tweets were posted about nominees in six of the main categories, including Best Picture, Best Actor and Best Actress. Or, read on for our take on what Twitter thought of the 2012 Academy Awards.

Twitter’s top ten favorite Oscar 2012 moments were, in order:

  1. Cirque du Soleil performance. The audience seemed entranced by the acrobatic dancers, and so did Twitter.
  2. Octavia Spencer wins Best Supporting Actress for her role in The Help. She even got a standing ovation!
  3. Hugo wins for Best Visual Effects. And a bunch of other awards too, but this category generated the most tweets.
  4. Meryl Streep wins Best Actress for The Iron Lady. This is a bit of surprise, as many expected Viola Davis to win this category. Regardless, Meryl is lovely and thanks her hairdresser.
  5. The Artist wins Best Picture. No surprise whatsoever here. And everyone loves Uggie the dog.
  6. Zach Galifianakis and Will Ferrell present Best Original Song award to Bret McKenzie for The Muppets. Bret’s work in Flight of the Conchords makes him popular on Twitter. Not to mention, Zach and Will are pretty funny guys.
  7. Christopher Plummer wins Best Supporting Actor. At 82, he’s only two years younger than the Oscars themselves.
  8. Jennifer Lopez and her possible wardrobe malfunction. Was that a shadow or something else? Twitter seems to think it was not a shadow.
  9. Jean Dujardin wins Best Actor for The Artist. Another unsurprising win. Jean seems tickled to have won, and thanks the audience in French during his speech.
  10. Angelina Jolie presents Best Adapted Screenplay to The Descendants. Angie’s provocative pose and its subsequent imitation by Jim Rash (another Twitter favorite because of his role on Community) got a big laugh.

During the three-hour awards show, we tracked 2.05 million tweets about the Oscars, with the biggest spike at 18,718 tweets in one minute (during the Cirque du Soleil performance). These numbers are up quite a bit from last year, when the 2011 Oscars garnered 1.27 million tweets and a maximum spike of 11,780 tweets per minute.

The nominees with the most Twitter mentions during the show were:

  1. Meryl Streep – 74,793 tweets
  2. Octavia Spencer – 59,957
  3. Christopher Plummer – 41,107
  4. Jean Dujardin – 23,614
  5. Rooney Mara – 23,233
  6. Brad Pitt – 18,702
  7. Viola Davis – 17,651
  8. Woody Allen – 14,280
  9. George Clooney – 13,252
  10. Martin Scorsese – 11,328

The top three films nominated for Best Picture, by tweet volume:

  1. Hugo – 110,179 tweets
  2. The Artist – 78,509
  3. The Help – 23,585

For more information about our interactive explorer, read this blog post about how and what we tracked.

Written by Jenn D

February 26th, 2012 at 9:09 pm

Posted in Events,Trends

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What did Twitter say about the 2012 Academy Awards? Here’s a sneak peek!

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Want to know what Twitter talked about during this year’s Academy Awards broadcast? We’ve been tracking Oscars tweets live and have prepared a cool visualization of those tweets so you can see – as it happened – which Oscar-nominated movies, actors and directors Twitter is talking about throughout the show! Click here or on the image below to see the tweets. Read on for more about how and what we’re tracking.

We tracked all tweets about the 84th Academy Awards during the awards show broadcast from 8:30 p.m. EST through 11:30 p.m. EST on Sunday, February 26, 2012. This includes uses of the #Oscars hashtag, @TheAcademy Twitter account, and any general mentions of the Oscars or Academy Awards.

You can drill into tweets about nominees for the following six Oscar categories:

  • Best Picture
  • Best Actor in a Leading Role
  • Best Actress in a Leading Role
  • Best Actor in a Supporting Role
  • Best Actress in a Supporting Role
  • Best Director

The large, colorful stream graph shows how many tweets are posted about each nominee every minute, grouped by award category. You can use the navigation bar at the top to change from one category to another. And you can scroll across the graph to see minute-by-minute details for that category. The smaller gray graph at the bottom shows overall Oscars-related tweet volume.

After the show, we posted our full analysis of Oscar night’s most buzzed-about people and events.

Written by Jenn D

February 26th, 2012 at 7:53 pm

Posted in Events,Trends

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Which artists generated the most Twitter buzz at the 2012 Grammy Awards?

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The 54th Annual Grammy Awards were held in Los Angeles last weekend on Sunday, February 12, 2012. More than 39 million viewers tuned in to watch their favorite bands, musicians and artists come together for a few hours during what many refer to as “music’s biggest night.”

During the broadcast on Sunday, the official #GRAMMYs hashtag was tweeted 2.1 million times by more than 700K people, generating a unique reach of nearly 60 million. At its peak, use of the #GRAMMYs hashtag spiked up to 18,000 tweets per minute.

Twitter buzzed about…

Check out this stream graph of tweets about the most popular artists (click through for the interactive version). Each colored layer represents tweets about one artist. The spikes on the graph illustrate tweet volume throughout the show.

The most-talked about artists during the 2012 Grammy Awards were:

  1. Adele: 340K tweets
  2. Chris Brown: 152K tweets
  3. Nicki Minaj: 85K tweets
  4. Rihanna: 81K tweets
  5. Taylor Swift: 68K tweets
  6. Whitney Houston: 66K tweets
  7. Bruno Mars: 60K tweets
  8. Foo Fighters: 52K tweets
  9. Lady Gaga: 43K tweets
  10. Katy Perry: 41K tweets

Whitney Houston passed away suddenly on Saturday, which had a big impact on this year’s Grammys. The show’s touching tribute to the singer generated a lot of buzz on Twitter as fans and friends remembered Whitney and her music; there were more than 66,000 tweets about Whitney during the show.

Adele was the night’s big winner, taking home all six of the Grammys for which she was nominated. She also garned the most Twitter attention of any artist; Adele was mentioned in 340K tweets last night! Many felt that Adele’s performance was the show’s best, especially since it was her first major appearance since she had vocal cord surgery last November. In particular, many Twitterers mentioned how strong her voice sounded, and how they preferred Adele’s simple vocal performance to some of the night’s other, more choreographed numbers.

Chris Brown ignited a great deal of controversy at this year’s awards, appearing at the Grammys for the first time since he was arrested for abusing his then-girlfriend Rihanna in 2009. The more than 150K tweets about his two Grammy performances last night ranged from disbelief and anger at his inclusion to support from his fans.

Nicki Minaj generated an entirely different kind of controversy with her red carpet entrance and subsequent performance of her new song, “Roman Holiday.” Viewer opinions varied, with some finding it interesting, bold or weird, while others (like the Catholic Church) found it offensive.

What did you think of the 2012 Grammy Awards? What was your favorite performance?

Interested in stream graphs? Give this paper by Byron and Wattenberg a read. 

Written by Jenn D

February 14th, 2012 at 3:32 pm

Posted in Events,Trends

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Snowmobiles, snowboards and skis: A recap of tweets about Winter X Games 2012

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Last weekend, we worked with ESPN to track tweets about the 2012 Winter X Games in Aspen, Colorado, held January 26 through January 29, 2012. It was a big event, accumulating 171,373 tweets over the four days of competition!

During last summer’s X Games, we tracked 188K tweets from 97K contributors, for an overall reach of 37.7 million. This year’s Winter X Games generated 171K tweets from 100K contributors and an overall reach of 37.9 million. Two days into these games, here were the stats:

Sadly, freeskier and X Games gold medalist Sarah Burke died a week before the games. ESPN aired a tribute for Sarah on Thursday night and the #CelebrateSarah hashtag was used in more than 3,500 tweets during the games.

Sunday, January 29, was a big day for the games, featuring the final competitions for two fan favorites – the Snowmobile Best Trick and Men’s Snowboard Superpipe. Athletes like Heath Frisby, Shaun White, and Justin Hoyer generated a lot of Twitter buzz, and Heath’s first-ever snowmobile front flip resulted in the highest tweet spike of the entire games (1,634 tweets per minute).

By the end of the Winter X Games, the most retweeted tweet was from @espn and referred to snowboarder Shaun White’s perfect score in the Snowboard Superpipe Final. It got 1,428 retweets and generated 3.3 million impressions.

It was a great four days! We’re already looking forward to next year.

Written by Jenn D

February 1st, 2012 at 3:25 pm

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Golden Globes tweets reach 94 million Twitter users

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The results are in – the Golden Globes were held last night and the Twitter traffic was off the charts! TweetReach, in partnership with mhCarter Consulting and the Hollywood Foreign Press Association, tracked and analyzed all of the tweets during the broadcast of the 69th annual awards show.

We watched for all mentions of Golden Globes during the broadcast and with close to 1 million tweets from almost 300,000 contributors generating over 2.2 billion impressions, the results came in at three times the Twitter volume we saw in 2011.

While “The Artist” and “The Descendants” walked away with most of the awards, what tweets drove the buzz? Check out the infographic below for the details!

TweetReach at the Golden Globes

Written by Dean Cruse

January 16th, 2012 at 7:45 am

TweetReach is going to the Golden Globes

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We’re very excited to announce that we’re partnering with mhCarter Consulting and the Hollywood Foreign Press Association to track tweets about the 69th Annual Golden Globe Awards on Sunday, January 15, 2012.

Jenn will be tweeting live from the event in Los Angeles on Sunday, and we’ll post the final Twitter analysis here on our blog next week.

Last year, we tracked tweets about the 2011 Golden Globe Awards. Glee dominated Twitter during last year’s show, generating the most retweets and highest spikes in conversation volume throughout the event. Other popular topics included The Social Network, Toy Story 3, The Big Bang Theory, Natalie Portman and Justin Bieber. Overall, we tracked 300,000 tweets with a reach of 31.5 million during the three-hour broadcast in 2011. The 2012 show is already on track to be much bigger.

The 68th Golden Globes were a lot of fun last year and we can’t wait to see what people will be tweeting about this year. Our early bets? Ricky Gervais will certainly cause a stir as the show’s host; he’s already generating a lot of buzz and averaging more than 300 retweets per tweet. Ryan Gosling has been the subject of hundreds of Tumblrs during the past few months and is nominated in two categories, so he’ll probably garner some attention at the event. Glee will likely make a strong showing again this year, as Twitter historically loves Glee and other shows targeted to a young adult audience. What do you think? Got any predictions for popular Twitter trends during this year’s Golden Globes telecast?

Read our full press release here.

Written by Jenn D

January 11th, 2012 at 8:35 am

Posted in Trends

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Can Twitter activity predict the winner of the presidential primaries?

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We often use TweetReach to track the success rates of TV shows and other major media events. We thought it would be interesting to analyze the tweets during last night’s Iowa Caucuses for the Republican nomination for President. As you know by now, former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney beat Rick Santorum by just a few votes, and Ron Paul came in third. Could Twitter activity have been used to predict the winner?

Last Friday, we started tracking all tweets that mentioned any of a candidate’s Twitter accounts (personal and campaign), the major news networks’ coverage of the caucuses, and hashtags such as #iacaucus that were used by the major news media and others in their tweets.

Interestingly, the overall Twitter volume about the caucuses was pretty low. In fact, we often track more tweets in an hour about a single TV show than we have in five days about all nine candidates. Nevertheless, early on in the evening we predicted a win by Mitt Romney or Ron Paul based on early Twitter activity and retweets.

Overall tweet volume, the number of unique contributors (people who have tweeted about a topic), reach, exposure, and the retweet rate (average number of retweets per tweet) can be useful indicators for deciding what topics are most popular on Twitter. But can they help predict results in Iowa? Here’s how the data shook out for the six major candidates:

Based on overall reach, Romney, Santorum, and Paul came in as the top three candidates, mapping directly to the final caucus results. Based on this analysis, reach seems to be a good indicator of success. But, since much of this reach can be attributed to mentions by major news media accounts, it’s more likely that Twitter activity is merely descriptive of what is happening. Nevertheless, the percentage of total reach from the major candidates ended up being very close to the actual caucus results:

Also noteworthy, despite having over 2.5x the tweet activity of Romney or Santorum, Ron Paul only had the third highest reach. Paul also had over 1.5x the contributors and the highest retweet rate of the candidates, more likely an indication of his support among younger voters and their engagement on Twitter. But, a larger follower count and more activity on Twitter don’t necessarily help predict a winner.

Other fun facts, the most retweeted tweet in our analysis came from Ron Paul’s account, and mentions Jon Huntsman who didn’t actively campaign in Iowa:

And, the second-most retweeted tweet came from Robert Reich, professor at University of California at Berkeley and former United States Secretary of Labor:

Studies have shown that Americans use social media to follow politics. As the primary season unfolds, we’ll continue to analyze the Twitter activity of the major candidates and report back on what we find. In the mean time, we’d love your feedback!

Written by Dean Cruse

January 4th, 2012 at 1:02 pm

ABC’s Once Upon a Time premieres to big ratings on TV and on Twitter

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Up next in our series of posts about what Twitter can tell us about new fall TV is an analysis of the most recent show to premiere, ABC’s Once Upon a Time. What did Twitter think of ABC’s new fairy tale drama? Let’s find out!

One of the last shows to premiere this fall season, Once Upon a Time aired for the first time on Sunday. Its premiere episode got really great ratings, garnering 12.8 million viewers and scoring a 3.9 rating in the desired 18-49 demo. To put that in context, TV|Line writes:

Once‘s tallies represent almost double what Extreme Makeover: Home Edition last did in the Sundays-at-8 slot. In fact, it’s ABC’s biggest audience in the time period with regular programming since March 2008 and its best 18-49 performance there in three years.

So, according to traditional TV audience ratings, the premiere of Once Upon a Time was a huge success for ABC. But what did the Twitterverse think? Were the Twitter ratings as high as the Nielsen ratings?

On Sunday, October 23, 2011 (the day of the first episode’s premier), 14,353 tweets about the show from 12,033 different people generated a reach of 6.55 million. Those are terrific numbers, with lots and lots of unique contributors, a healthy tweet volume, and an impressive reach. For comparison, here are the numbers for the premieres of two similar ABC shows (all three are hour-long dramas).

While Pan Am generated nearly twice as many tweets as Once Upon a Time on its first day, those tweets were posted by a smaller group of people and generated a much smaller reach. Revenge, which has already been picked up for a full season on ABC, generated fewer tweets, but had a very large reach. The size of both the contributor pool and the audience for those contributors’ tweets (as measured by reach) can tell us a great deal about a show’s popularity, particularly if we watch how these metrics trend over time. Take these graphs for recent tweets about ABC’s Pan Am and Revenge, showing tweets from 9/14 through 10/22, encompassing the first five episodes of both shows.
The spiky green graph represents tweet volume by day for each show, with large spikes on the day the show airs on television. The blue area represents weekly reach for each show. While the scales for the two shows differ, you can see a steady and alarming decline in both reach and tweet volume for Pan Am, after some initial interest during the first two shows. In contrast, Revenge seems to be picking up steam recently and is settling in to a solid pattern. (Note that reach plummets for both graphs on the right because the current week has just started, so weekly reach data is incomplete.)

But back to Once Upon a Time. Sure, the metrics for its first show look good, but what do the tweets about it actually say? Here are a few of the most-retweeted tweets.

Generally, most tweets with any opinion included a similar positive sentiment. It’s still very, very early – the show only premiered yesterday – but these tweets are definitely a good start. And of course, not everyone loved the show. Below are a few examples of less-than-glowing reviews. But even most of the popular negative sentiment tweets weren’t really all that negative, which is certainly a good sign (compare that to tweets about the now-canceled Playboy Club, which saw lots of highly negative tweets).

So, we’ll keep an eye on this show as it finds its footing in ABC’s Sunday night lineup. It’s still way too early to decide if this show will eventually get the axe or not, but based on early reactions, I predict that ABC will keep it around, at least for now (and based on that graph above, it’s probably safe to bet that Pan Am will be canceled soon). We’ll see how both shows do over the next few weeks.

Did you watch Once Upon a Time? What did you think?

Written by Jenn D

October 24th, 2011 at 5:20 pm

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Will FOX cancel Terra Nova?

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By now you’ve probably seen one of our posts about this season’s new fall TV shows. For a few weeks, we’ve been using TweetReach to track tweets about all 25 new shows (we’re down to 22 now), and using the tweets to try to predict which ones will be canceled. And we thought it would be fun to bring a guest blogger who knows even more about TV than we do to help make predictions.

So, welcome Adam Rucker to the TweetReach blog! Adam’s been blogging and making videos about TV and pop culture for a long time. He’s even appeared on TV a few times. Here on our blog, Adam will sharing some of his – and Twitter’s – thoughts on new fall shows. And if you like what you see here, you can find Adam on Twitter at @ruckermore, on his YouTube channel, and on his blog

This week, Adam takes on FOX’s new show, Terra Nova. Will it be canceled? Let’s see what Adam thinks!

One of the biggest bets of the fall season is the one FOX took on its new sci-fi series Terra Nova. The show, which begins in the year 2149, stars Jason O’Mara as the head of a family that travels 75 million years into the past to live amongst the dinosaurs in “Terra Nova.”

The premise of the show is exciting in nature: super director Steven Spielberg produces the time-traveling mix of Lost, Jurassic Park, and Avatar. It’s also the most expensive new show in production this year with a pilot that cost a rumored $20 million to create and subsequent episodes that cost around $4 million each.

Unlike most shows, FOX ordered 13 episodes of Terra Nova when the original pilot was greenlit, meaning it’s unlikely that FOX will pull the plug on the show before it shows all the episodes it’s already paid for. Still, it is the viewer response to these episodes that will determine if FOX decides to continue pouring money into its investment or fill Terra Nova’s valuable Monday night time slot with another spinoff of Hell’s Kitchen starring Gordon Ramsay.

So what is the Twitter world saying about the big budget drama? In its first week on the air, Terra Nova generated nearly 90,000 tweets from more than 50,000 contributors reaching about 18.2 million people, which is nearly 10 million more than reached the recently cancelled Playboy Club (12K tweets from 9K contributors, with a reach of 8.6 million). Interestingly, the several weeks since the premiere haven’t generated much more attention for the show. In total, 111,000 tweets have reached 20.7 million pairs of eyes. But the attention doesn’t mean anything if it’s bad attention.

A look at the top four highest exposure tweets includes three from Entertainment Weekly linking to articles on the show, but number four is a simple review from English television host, Jonathan Ross:

This tweet was retweeted 111 times, reaching even further beyond @wossy’s own 1.2 million followers.

A tweet by E!’s television critic, Kristin Dos Santos, mocking the show’s inferiority to one of her favorites, Lost, reached her 73,000 followers and was retweeted 28 times.

Personally, I wasn’t a huge fan of the show either. Despite the big bucks spent on production, it came off as cheap and even cheesy in some parts.

But to be fair, not all of the Twitterverse had bad things to say about the show. Drew Carey’s positive review went out to his 627,000 followers and gained a spot as one of the highest exposure tweets about the show.

 

Jared English, founder of the incredibly popular celebrity gossip blog, JustJared.com, also had far-reaching kind words for the dino-thriller.

But what does it all mean anyway? For an expensive show like Terra Nova, my guess is a lot. A thumbs up or thumbs down from any one of these influential tweeters could very easily result in the loss or gain of hundreds of thousands (or in some cases, millions) of viewers. While various reports show that Terra Nova’s ratings have been “respectable,” there’s no getting around the fact that it is up against some stiff competition, including ABC’s ratings behemoth, Dancing with the Stars.

It just depends on what FOX executives are looking for. The network recently picked up its new comedy series, New Girl starring Zooey Deschanel, for a full season. While the budget of this good-natured, apartment-based comedy is probably a tenth of Terra Nova’s (and also generated far fewer tweets and tweeters), New Girl has reached nearly two million more Twitter users during its time on the air.

There’s still time for Terra Nova (at least 10 more episodes), but my guess is that, unless it gains a devoted following (quickly), FOX is going to stop paying the bills and its 13th episode will probably be its last.

Do you think Terra Nova is headed for extinction? Leave your thoughts in the comments!

Written by admin

October 11th, 2011 at 5:15 am

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