A little while ago, Paula told me she was interested in reconstructing the Twitter stream that happened last year around Bill 44 (PDF and if you want a summary, Ken has a great one). She tried using Twitter Search but quickly found that it only goes back so far, so she asked if I could help. With a few caveats, I said I could.
The first caveat is that the tweets I have are only from people in Edmonton and Calgary (with their profiles set to one of those at the time). I’m sure other Albertans were taking part too. The second is that it’s pretty hard to find all the back-and-forth tweets for the various conversations, so the ones I pulled out all contain the #bill44 hashtag.
I looked at the data for May and June of 2009. Here’s what it looks like:
I was initially surprised by the double peaks, but Paula helped make sense of it:
The first peak is the night debate went until 3:38 AM and the amendments were defeated. The second spike is the night (and early morning) of the final vote. Debate started the evening of the 1st, and ended at about 3:20 AM on the 2nd. The Twitter chatter continued like mad on the 2nd and 3rd, as people bemoaned the result.
Here are the top ten most active #bill44 users during those two months: KenChapman46, Sirthinks, taudette, DebraWard, robertmcbean, AllieW, ChrisLaBossiere, davecournoyer, Paulatics, bingofuel.
After removing #bill44, #ableg, and RT, this is what the word cloud of the tweets looks like:
And here, in chronological order, is all 2406 tweets:
I have archived that spreadsheet here or you can get the full version here. That means you can download the data set and do your own analysis, if you like!
I agree with Paula and all of the others who have said this: Bill 44 was a landmark moment in Alberta’s social media & political history. I’m glad we were able to preserve a part of it.
As a minor aside, I think this a great example of what could come out of MediaCamp.
6 thoughts on “#bill44 on Twitter by Edmontonians & Calgarians”
I’m a VERY minor player in the Twitter world so, although I probably would have answered yes if someone asked me- could this data be retrieved?, I still found it amazing/neat/cool.
The non believers should view this.
How would this info be accepted if used in researching for a thesis? Is there any way a University/College could suggest the info to be invalid due to its source?
Source being me? If someone wanted to use this for a thesis, I could provide more details about how specifically the data was retrieved. It all came from Twitter, I just aggregated and compiled it.
I think this material would make some J-school student a great paper — or even form the nub of a Master’s thesis. Thanks, Mack, for doing the work to pull this together.
You have just presented me with my Christmas Morning, Easter Bunny, World Peace and everything like that…. all in one.
You have never ceased to amaze me in how you contribute to the conversation, find new ways to share the data, and show us that there is value in all of this.
I expect hours of entertainment with this stuff.
Chris – glad to hear you enjoyed this! I’ll keep doing my best to impress.
Paula – thanks for asking for this and helping out!
It’s neat to see how Twitter has become an important part of politics. All your hard work is appreciated. Looking forward to more posts on the subject.