Twitter statistics for City Council’s vote on the financial framework for the downtown arena

After a long public hearing on Tuesday, City Council yesterday debated the proposed financial framework and ultimately whether or not they wanted to proceed with the downtown arena project. They voted 10-3 in favor of the framework, and also voted to spend $30 million to complete the design to 60%. Here’s my analysis of the the arena-related tweets posted by Edmonton users between 9:30am and 9:30pm.

By graphing the tweets per minute, you can very clearly see the time the vote took place (~3:03pm):

I was curious to know if the things people were tweeting before and after that moment were different. Here’s a word cloud of the tweets prior to the vote:

Caterina was mentioned a lot, which makes sense considering he turned out to be the surprise dealmaker of the day. The other Councillors were mentioned quite frequently too, as myself and others tweeted their comments.

Here’s a word cloud of the tweets posted after the vote:

It’s very interesting that “Edmonton” was tweeted so often after the vote passed. There were a lot of tweets similar to “Edmonton will get a new arena” that were retweeted after the vote. You can also see that “Iveson” was fairly prominent after the vote, reflecting the large number of tweets about his final remarks on the deal.

Other stats:

  • It was another busy day for tweets in Edmonton with more than 42,000 posted by Edmontonians. That works out to an average of about 30 per minute.
  • More than 880 users posted at least one arena-related tweet.
  • On average, 5.0 arena-related tweets were posted per minute between 9:30am and 9:30pm. The peak was 43.
  • Roughly 14% of the tweets were replies to other users.
  • Roughly 29% of the tweets were retweets.

Here are the top 20 most active local users (most tweets to least):

Here are the top 20 most retweeted local users (by other local users, most retweeted to least):

I gave Paula a run for her money, but she remained the most retweeted user on the arena issue!

UPDATE: I’m always looking for better ways to analyze tweets. Finding a good, reliable way to do sentiment analysis (are tweets positive or negative) is a challenge, partially because tweets are so short and because they usually include weird entities like hashtags (weird from a natural language processing point-of-view). To analyze the arena-related tweets, I used uClassify’s Sentiment Classifier. Here are the results:

tweet sentiment

I would say this is pretty much as expected. Tweets before the vote probably expressed less emotion one way or the other. Most people tweeting after the vote seemed happy with the decision Council made.

Twitter statistics for today’s public hearing on the proposed arena deal

I think it’s fair to say that the public hearing on the proposed arena deal was the talk of Twitter in Edmonton today. Here’s my quick analysis of all arena-related tweets posted by Edmonton users today between 9:30am and 9:30pm.

A word cloud of the 4500+ tweets:

Here’s a breakdown of tweets per minute (you can clearly see the lunch and dinner breaks):

Other stats:

  • Thanks largely to the arena-related tweets, more than 44,000 tweets were posted by Edmontonians today. That works out to an average of about 31 tweets per minute.
  • More than 800 different users posted at least one arena-related tweet.
  • On average, 6.3 arena-related tweets were posted per minute between 9:30am and 9:30pm. The peak was 24.
  • Roughly 17% of the tweets were replies to other users.
  • Roughly 25% of the tweets were retweets.

Here are the top 20 most active local users (most tweets to least):

  1. Paulatics
  2. iNews880
  3. scott_lilwall
  4. KikkiPlanet
  5. ctvedmonton
  6. rjmackinnon
  7. Sirthinks
  8. jfranceska
  9. SunMichelleT
  10. JennaBCityTV
  11. canadianglen
  12. dstaples
  13. edmontoncritic
  14. Edmontonsun
  15. Darren_Krause
  16. journalistjeff
  17. SeanCollins11
  18. DennisMichael_1
  19. smoonie
  20. ScottFralick

Here are the top 20 most retweeted local users (by other local users, most retweeted to least):

  1. Paulatics
  2. ctvedmonton
  3. KikkiPlanet
  4. rjmackinnon
  5. iNews880
  6. sunterryjones
  7. scott_lilwall
  8. SunMichelleT
  9. mastermaq
  10. dstaples
  11. davecournoyer
  12. el_cormier
  13. yegmotto
  14. smah1
  15. frostiblack
  16. dantencer
  17. Edmontonsun
  18. dirklancer
  19. journalistjeff
  20. tedgbauer & alexabboud

Council voted to deal with the issue at 9:30am tomorrow (Wednesday). You can watch or listen live here.

Edmonton Twittersphere: One Week, Three Big Events

There certainly has been a lot to talk about over the last seven days! The royal wedding, the death of Osama bin Laden, and the 41st Canadian federal election have all been in the news around the world. They’ve been the hot topics on Twitter as of late too. I decided to take a closer look at Edmonton’s tweeting of the three events.

First, here is the number of tweets about each topic, plotted per hour over the last week. From the chart, we can see that the Bin Laden and election news was spikier than the royal wedding (think: people tweeting as soon as they heard about Bin Laden versus people tweeting over the three or four hours the wedding took).

For the data labeled #RoyalWedding I took any tweet that contained “wedding”, “middleton”, “cambridge”, “william”, or “kate”. For the data labeled Bin Laden, I took any tweet that contained “bin laden”, “binladen”, “osama”, or “obama”. For the data labeled “#elxn41” I took any tweet that contained “elxn41” or “yegfed”. This definition applies to the rest of the data in this post as well.

Here’s a closer look at the royal wedding tweets:

Obviously one of the more interesting aspects of the royal wedding was that it took place in the middle of the night for us here in Edmonton. This chart gives you a sense of that. The orange line is the number of tweets posted per hour on April 29th, and you can see there were quite a few more tweets posted in the middle of the night than either the day before or after (the blue lines).

Here’s a word cloud that shows all of the local tweets posted on April 29th (29,625). You can see the wedding definitely stands out:

The most consistently talked about topic of the three has definitely been the election. We set a new record for the number of tweets posted in a single day on election day (May 2) at 37,664. That’s fitting, considering our record day last year was also an election day. This chart compares the two:

Obviously more tweets were posted overall on May 2, because there are more local users on Twitter now. What’s interesting to me is that the number of election-specific tweets is about the same for both!

Here’s a word cloud for election day:

Though more people tweeted about the election over the week, it was the Bin Laden news that got everyone tweeting at the same time. I think it’s the new local record holder for peak tweets per hour:

This chart is imperfect, of course – it changes depending on the search keywords you use. But I think it still illustrates the point. For Crosby’s goal, I used “canada”, “crosby”, “goal”, and “score”.

Finally, here’s a word cloud for May 1, the day the Osama bin Laden news broke:

Even though the news came out very late in the day, you can see that it was the most talked about topic of the day.

I wonder what the next big event on Twitter in Edmonton will be!

How Friday’s AMBER Alert unfolded on Twitter

On Friday afternoon, RCMP issued an AMBER Alert for 12-year-old Jacob Telford. Thankfully, he was found “in good condition” after just a few hours. For a while that evening, it seemed like every tweet in Edmonton was related to the incident. At one point during the evening, @tkoriordan said “So I’ve been away from Twitter all day. Somebody want to fill me in on what I missed?” to which @Kiri_W replied “About a billion amber alert retweets.” Curiosity got the better of me, so I looked at the data to see how the AMBER Alert unfolded on Twitter.

Here are the first four tweets that appeared:

Just heard about amber alert, young boy from #shpk, check out alert and key an eye out

1st time I have hear the emerg broadcast have a real emerg. Its ano amber alert for a little boy missing from Sherwood Park

Amber Alert in #YEG child abducted in #sherwoodpark. #Edmonton #AMBERALERT!

AMBER ALERT: 12-year-old Jacob Telford taken from Sherwood Park last night – White 2002 Ford Taurus – BC Plate: V2P4J3

Actually, Rob McAnally had one up before the main CTV Edmonton account did, but it seems that tweet has since been deleted. CTV posted the first link to a new story at 2:29 PM (that link has since been clicked over 1000 times).

From Matthew’s first tweet at 2:11:17 PM until 7:23:43 PM when Jeremy Lye’s tweet appeared declaring that the AMBER Alert had been cancelled (the first to do so), a total of 958 tweets were posted (mentioning either the AMBER Alert or Jacob Telford). That works out to just over 3 tweets per minute (in the first hour, it was nearly 7 tweets per minute). By 5 PM the next day, the total number of related tweets had grown slightly to 1126.

Of those, 983 were retweets. Here’s what the retweets looked like:

They weren’t quite the first to tweet the start or end of the AMBER Alert (they were about six minutes behind both times), but CTV Edmonton was definitely the most visible account to do so, and that is reflected in the number of retweets they received.

In total, 710 different Twitter users tweeted (or retweeted) about the incident. Just less than half were located in the Edmonton area, while some were as far away as Brazil, Russia, and Kuwait (based on the location in their profiles). I suppose there’s always a chance that their retweets could have helped (maybe they have followers in Canada) but I still have to wonder why someone who is so far away would tweet about something like this. Is it because it’s easy to click the retweet button? Is it because we all like to feel as though we’re helping? I’m not sure.

If you add up the number of followers those 710 users have, you get a potential reach of more than 288,000 users. That’s not accounting for overlap though, so the actual number is probably quite a bit less. And not all of those users will have been online to see the tweets. Still, there’s no question that the AMBER Alert was seen far and wide on Friday.

Here’s what I found interesting about all of this:

  • 85% of all the tweets posted about the incident appeared before we knew the boy was safe
  • 60% of all the tweets posted about the incident were simply retweets of CTV Edmonton’s tweets
  • It took less than 20 minutes for the first news story link to appear
  • After 24 hours, almost no one was tweeting about it anymore

You can learn more about the AMBER Alert Program here.