State of the Edmonton Twittersphere 2012 – Hashtags & Links

This is the third part in my State of the Edmonton Twittersphere for 2012 – you can read the overview post here (and here is the hashtags & links entry for 2011). As we saw in that entry, local users posted more than 4 million tweets containing links. They also posted nearly 5 million tweets containing hashtags. Let’s take a closer look at what exactly we tweeted about in 2012.

It’s difficult to extract a lot value out of links because everything is trapped behind the t.co wrapper, but I did want to highlight the time of day that links seem to be posted. Recall that the hourly peak for tweet volume in general comes at around 9 PM, whereas for tweets containing links the peak is 11 AM.

Local users used just over 1 million different hashtags in 2012, up from nearly 600,000 in 2011. Hashtags ranged in length from 1 character to 139, excluding the hash, and they were used for just about every purpose you can think of. The average hashtag length was 14 characters.

Here are the top 25 hashtags used by local users in 2012:

  1. #yeg
  2. #ableg
  3. #yegfood
  4. #oilers
  5. #abvote
  6. #edmonton
  7. #ff
  8. #cdnpoli
  9. #yyc
  10. #yegwx
  11. #jobs
  12. #wrp
  13. #nhl
  14. #yegarts
  15. #ualberta
  16. #shpk
  17. #yegtraffic
  18. #yegweather
  19. #yegcc
  20. #yegdt
  21. #yegmusic
  22. #cbc
  23. #stalbert
  24. #yegarena
  25. #fb

Here’s a visualization of the top 100 hashtags excluding #yeg:

The most popular hashtag of all is still #yeg by a long shot. It was used about 660,000 times by local users which works out to 13.4% of all local tweets containing hashtags. The list above also illustrates the prevalence of #yeg-related hashtags. In 2012, local users used more than 4200 of them, up from 3600 last year. Though half of them were used just once, 44 #yeg-related hashtags were used more than 1000 times each.

Here are the top 25 #yeg-related hashtags:

  1. #yegfood
  2. #yegwx
  3. #yegarts
  4. #yegtraffic
  5. #yegweather
  6. #yegcc
  7. #yegdt
  8. #yegmusic
  9. #yegarena
  10. #yegre
  11. #yegjobs
  12. #yegwxfx
  13. #yegtransit
  14. #yegfringe
  15. #yegtheatre
  16. #yegfoodag
  17. #yegctvml
  18. #yegfilm
  19. #yegbike
  20. #yegfashion
  21. #yegmedia
  22. #yegbeer
  23. #yegpets
  24. #yeggeek
  25. #yegwine

Here’s a visualization of the top 100 #yeg-related hashtags:

I noticed some trends looking at the top 100 hashtags, so I decided to group some tags into topics or categories. I came up with nine that stood out:

  • Arts – #yegarts, #yegfringe, #yegmusic, #yegtheatre, #yegfilm
  • Downtown – #yegdt, #yegarena
  • Education – #abed, #edtech, #ualberta, #epsb
  • Food – #yegfood, #yegfoodag
  • Politics – #yegcc, #ableg, #cdnpoli, #abpoli, #yegfed
  • Regions – #shpk, #sprucegrove, #stalbert, #fortsask, #strathco, #leduc
  • Sports –#oilers, #nhl, #esks, #cfl, #oilkings
  • Transportation – #yegtraffic, #yegtransit, #yegbike
  • Weather – #yegweather, #yegwx, #yegwxfx

Here’s a breakdown of how those categories relate to one another. You can see that we tweet more about politics and sports than arts and education:

Here’s a look at the frequency of each category over the course of the year. This starts to show some interesting variations over the year, most notably in the summer when we experience our nicest weather and the Fringe Festival is taking place:

And here’s that same frequency but highlighting the spikes that took place throughout the year:

I’d love to hear your ideas for what those spikes represent, but here are my guesses for a few of them:

  • Sports – April 10, 2012 – This was the day the Oilers won the lottery for the first overall draft pick.
  • Education – June 15, 2012 – This was the day of the HUB Mall shooting.
  • Sports – June 22, 2012 – This was the day the Oilers selected Nail Yakupov first overall at the 2012 NHL Entry Draft.
  • Arts – August 17, 2012 – This was the day after the Fringe started and was the day of the Metallica concert.
  • Downtown – October 17, 2012 – This was the day of the Downtown Arena update (Mandel’s deadline for the Katz Group).
  • Food – October 26, 2012 – This was the day of the public hearing on the Food & Agriculture Strategy.
  • Transportation/Weather – November 7, 2012 – This was the day of our first major snowfall.
  • Politics – December 12, 2012 – This was the day Council voted to re-open negotiations with the Katz Group on the arena.

You might be wondering about the provincial election that took place in April. Well I originally included #abvote in the Politics category, but it skewed the results so dramatically I took it out. Here’s what it the year looks like if you include #abvote:

April 23 was election day, and local users posted more tweets on that day than any other until the snowstorm came along and on November 6 and 7. In addition to those two days, just one other day in 2012 had more tweets than election day and that was December 12 when Council last discussed the arena.

This entry brings my 2012 report to a close. I hope you found it useful – thanks for reading!

2012 in Review

  1. Overview
  2. Users & Clients
  3. Hashtags & Links