State of the Edmonton Twittersphere – July 2009

Welcome to the seventh State of the Edmonton Twittersphere, my look at the intersection of Twitter and Edmonton. You can see last month’s stats here.

The source of the data this month has changed, slightly. In addition to Twitter Search, I added more data directly from Twitter itself. A total of 19,199 tweets were pulled from user timelines directly because they did not exist in Twitter Search.

User identification remains the same. If a user has his or her location set to Edmonton, St. Albert, Sherwood Park, Leduc, Nisku, Stony Plain, Fort Saskatchewan, Beaumont, Spruce Grove, or matching lat/long coordinates, they are considered an Edmontonian.

For July 2009:

# of local users: 5133 (an increase of 1491 from June)

To clarify, that means there were 5133 users who posted at least one tweet in July 2009 with their location set to something that makes them an Edmontonian as described above. This number should be treated as a minimum – there are probably many more Edmonton users without their location set.

I’m happy with my previous stats posts existing as point-in-time snapshots. That said, I am continually improving my data set, making it more accurate over time. I am still happy with the numbers I posted for January through May – they are reasonably accurate (within about 100 users). The number I posted for June however, 3642 users, is not accurate. It was actually 4581, which means this month actually increased by 552 users (however I left the 1491 above for consistency).

Here’s a graph to illustrate local user growth in 2009:

Here are the rest of the stats for July 2009:

# of tweets by local users: 210162
# of tweets by local users containing #yeg: 12879 (6.1%)
# of tweets by local users that were replies: 73119 (34.8%)
# of tweets by local users containing links: 43702 (20.8%)
# of tweets by local users that were retweets: 8393 (4.0%)
# of tweets by local users that were twooshes: 7185 (3.4%)

Once again, the number of tweets containing #yeg actually includes all local hashtags, such as #yegtransit or #yegfood (though most often they are used together anyway).

Here are the numbers above in graphic form (not corrected for June):

Here are the top clients used by local users for posting updates. You’ll notice that API is now identified separately from web:

Some other interesting stats for the month:

Finally, here are the top ten users in Edmonton by followers (most followers first): Pat_Lorna, revtrev, DrBarryLycka, LesM, subunit1, garrymullen, redneckmommy, mastermaq, NHL_Oilers, dan_cote.


Looks like we’re getting some growth again, which is a little surprising considering it’s the summer. A couple of things helped to boost July’s stats, including the City Centre Airport issue and the big summer storms. I counted 1464 tweets posted by local users with the #ecca hashtag in July, and I already posted some stats on the storm here. Additionally, July 8th (which is when the Council meeting on the airport was held) was the second busiest day of the month.

Since January, I have identified just over 9200 local users. The number above, 5133, is how many of them were active in July.

I’ll post the Calgary stats as soon as I can – still some manual processing to do, so it might be next week before I get it all finished.

The Last 24 Hours on Twitter: Storm in Edmonton

We’ve been dealing with a pretty massive storm here in Edmonton for the last 24 hours or so (Edmonton Journal, iNews880). At one point last night, every fire hall in the city was dealing with some kind of storm-related issue. Epcor has been taxed dealing with power outages, and I’ve heard nothing but sirens downtown.

As expected, many Edmontonians turned to Twitter to communicate about the storm. At one point last night, #yeg was the 6th most talked about item on all of Twitter. I was aggregating tweets together on a livestream that you can look at here.

Here’s what the last 24 hours looks like for local Twitter users:

Since noon yesterday, there have been just under 8000 tweets posted by local users, most of them with the #yeg hashtag. Other popular tags include #yegweather and #yegstorm.

Storm in EdmontonStorm in Edmonton

There have been dozens of photos and videos posted online too. The two above are a couple that I took last night before things got really crazy. The two most popular TwitPic’d photos from last night were:

Lots of cleanup happening around the city today, though the wind and rain are still quite intense at times. I’ll have more on this tomorrow!

The Story Behind

The discussion about what to do with the City Centre Airport has largely been monopolized by the pro-Muni crowd. A majority of the speakers at last week’s public hearings were either in favor of the status quo or of expanding scheduled service at ECCA. I suppose that shouldn’t be a surprise – supporters of the City Centre Airport have the most to lose in this debate. It makes sense that they would put time and money into making their positions known.

Increasingly, civic debate is happening digitally. To their credit, the Alberta Enterprise Group recognized this and very early on in the process launched (they’ve also been quite active on Twitter and Facebook, and there’s this site also). The site acts both as a hub for pro-Muni information and as a place to point to online if you support AEG’s stance on the airport (or simply wish to talk about it).

Unfortunately, there isn’t a similar website supporting the closure of the City Centre Airport. There are many articles, blog posts, forum messages, and tweets, but nothing that ties them together.

Today, that changes.

I’ve just launched I have two primary goals with the site. First, I want to ensure that facts and arguments in favor of closing the City Centre Airport can easily be found and shared. Second, I hope to encourage as many Edmontonians as possible to contact City Council to urge them to vote in favor of closure.

I’m not sure how much of an impact the site will have, especially considering we’re just a week away from a potential Council decision on the matter. That said, it didn’t take very long to create (as you can tell by the simple design) and I’m continually amazed at how quickly people can mobilize via the Internet. If you have feedback/suggestions for the site, let me know.

This doesn’t level the playing field, of course, but it’s something – anyone out there want to pay for some billboards?

Please contact your City Councillors to let them know what you think about the City Centre Airport. Feel free to use or reference the information posted at Finally, consider using the links, buttons, posters and other resources posted at the site to help spread the word to others.

Closing the City Centre Airport is a unique opportunity to improve our city in ways consistent with the City of Edmonton’s Strategic Plan. We must not let this opportunity go to waste.

Mayor Mandel and Councillors, the City Centre Airport is Not My Airport. Please close it.

Letter to City Council regarding the City Centre Airport

Here’s my letter to Council:

Dear Mayor Mandel and Councillors:

I listened to the public hearings on the City Centre Airport Lands last week with great interest. You heard from a large number of Edmontonians and received a great deal of information related to the airport. Unfortunately, the only thing that everyone could agree upon was that the status quo at the City Centre Airport is untenable. Which leaves two options: expand scheduled service, or close the airport.

Except that expanding scheduled service is not a viable option. There is no evidence to support the notion that Edmonton as a whole would benefit from faux-competition between the City Centre Airport and the Edmonton International Airport. In fact, expanding scheduled service would almost certainly be detrimental to both airports, and therefore to the city.

The only rational, responsible decision is to close the airport.

The arguments you have heard against this decision are flawed. Medevac patients would not be affected by closure as time critical patients could be accommodated at other facilities. Few would be inconvenienced by travel delays – the Villeneuve Airport is just ten minutes further from Downtown Edmonton than the Springbank Airport is from Downtown Calgary. Most of the economic activity facilitated by the airport would not disappear, but would instead shift. There is absolutely no factual basis for the assertion that closing the City Centre Airport would negatively affect Edmonton’s economy, let alone affect it more than the loss of one of our major sports teams.

Closing the City Centre Airport is an incredible opportunity. Removing the height restrictions of the Outer Surface will help to re-invigorate our downtown. Expansion of the existing NAIT campus will remove the need for that institution to build elsewhere, helping to curb urban sprawl. Intensification of the airport lands is wholly consistent with the City of Edmonton’s Strategic Plan and vision for the future. Importantly, this can be accomplished while celebrating the historical significance of Blatchford Field. Our city has a rare chance to build a transit-oriented community on the airport lands that is integrated, livable, innovative, and sustainable.

I urge you to vote in favour of closing the City Centre Airport.

Thank you.

Contact your City Councillors to let them know what you think about the City Centre Airport.

Airport Passenger Statistics for Edmonton & Calgary

Earlier this evening I was a guest on The Lesley Primeau Show on 630 CHED. Along with Brittney, we talked about Twitter. That went pretty much as expected – Lesley doesn’t hate social media, but she doesn’t get it either.

While waiting for the show to get started, we were talking about the Edmonton City Centre Airport (ECCA). I’m in favor of closing “the muni” while Lesley very clearly favors the status quo, or perhaps even restoring scheduled service to ECCA. She feels that Edmonton needs an airport downtown to become a great city – I think we need density in the centre, not an airport.

Things got slightly heated when Lesley said that the only growth the Edmonton International Airport (EIA) has seen was from the consolidation back in 1995. She also said that EIA will never rival the Calgary International Airport, and that growth there has been far stronger. I challenged her on both of these assertions (and have heard others make them recently). Lesley said I needed to do my homework, that I was wrong.

So I did my homework. I wasn’t wrong.

Let’s start with the first myth – that EIA’s growth has only come at the expense of ECCA. Here are the annual passenger numbers for each airport from 1995 to 2008 (I’m going with scheduled passenger numbers, which is why ECCA is 0 after 1996):

Here they are in table format:

1995 1943797 835612
1996 3104322 417002
1997 3720623 0
1998 3791574 0
1999 3700016 0
2000 3843321 0
2001 3940416 0
2002 3773800 0
2003 3882497 0
2004 4081565 0
2005 4511451 0
2006 5213992 0
2007 6065117 0
2008 6437334 0

What can learn from those numbers? The key years are 1995-97, obviously (the plebiscite vote took place on October 16, 1995). Passenger traffic at EIA, which had been stagnant since the early 1980s at about 2 million passengers per year, increased by more than the amount that passenger traffic at ECCA decreased. Passenger traffic at ECCA decreased by 835,612 from 1995 to 1997, while passenger traffic at EIA increased by 1,776,826.

Clearly there was something besides consolidation that caused traffic at EIA to increase. Growth at EIA leveled off from 1998 until 2002, but you’ll recall that was a difficult time for the airline industry – Edmonton was not alone.

Now let’s look at the second myth – that Edmonton will always be second to Calgary. Here are the annual passenger numbers for EIA and YYC from 1996 to 2008:

Here they are in table format:

1996 3104322 6967571
1997 3720623 7547156
1998 3791574 7731034
1999 3700016 8010883
2000 3843321 8090426
2001 3940416 7794519
2002 3773800 7884194
2003 3882497 8576541
2004 4081565 9174039
2005 4511451 10148718
2006 5213992 11279080
2007 6065117 12265754
2008 6437334 12507111

Calgary is definitely busier than Edmonton – nearly twice as busy. Edmonton is in a better position today relative to Calgary than it was in 1996, however. It’s a little difficult to tell from the graph/table above, but Edmonton’s growth overall since 1996 is actually stronger than Calgary’s. Here are the annual percentage increases:

In total, passenger traffic at EIA has increased 107% since 1996, whereas passenger traffic at YYC has increased 80% since 1996.

Is that enough to suggest that Edmonton can emerge from the shadow of Calgary, at least when it comes to their respective airports? Maybe, maybe not. But the data clearly shows that YYC isn’t light years beyond EIA as some would like to suggest.

As an aside, while doing my research I found statistics for EIA for three more years: 394000 in 1962, 755000 in 1973, and 1100000 in 1974.

The public hearing on the City Centre Airport continues tomorrow at City Hall. You can see my resources post here.

Sources: EIA Website, EIA Passenger Statistics, YYC Website, Calgary Airport Statistics, numerous EIA press releases, Wikipedia, Tourism Calgary.

#yeg – Year in Review

It’s hard to believe that just a single year has gone by since the first tweet with the #yeg hashtag. It has become such a core part of the Edmonton Twitter community that it’s difficult to imagine what microblogging would be like without it!

If I remember correctly, I found about the #yyc hashtag while I was in Calgary for BarCampCalgary2 on June 14th, 2008. I learned from @wintr that a few Calgarians had started using the hashtag to tweet about things related to their city. I thought it might be a good idea to do something similar here in Edmonton. This is what I wrote:

#Edmonton Twitterers…our neighbours to the south have started using the hashtag #yyc to self organize…cool idea we should borrow? #yeg

The rest, as they say, is history.

A few highlights from the past year:

  • #yeg was mentioned on CTV when Carrie Doll did a story on Twitter at the beginning of March.
  • #yeg trended to #5 on Twitter Search on March 24th as Edmontonians were tweeting about the fire on Rice Howard Way.
  • No less than ten related hashtags have been actively used, such as #yegtransit and #yegfood.

I recall at some point a discussion about how to pronounce #yeg. I think most say “y-egg” though some say “y-e-g”.

Unfortunately, I don’t have a lot of stats for the hashtag before January 2009. My best guess is that 1488 tweets were posted containing the #yeg hashtag from November 20th to December 31st. For this calendar year however, I have good numbers. The stats below differ from my monthly stats posts in two ways: they are global, so include tweets posted by non-locals, and they do not contain related tags such as #yegfood.

A total of 32053 tweets have been posted in 2009 (as of noon today) containing the #yeg hashtag. Here’s that number broken down by month:

On average, 188 tweets are posted each day containing the #yeg hashtag.

One thing I’ve always wondered is where the hashtag is most often placed inside each tweet. Here’s the breakdown:

I think it’s great that the #yeg hashtag has become so established in the Edmonton Twitter community, and I look forward to its continued evolution. Thanks everyone for making #yeg so great!


Are you ready for another DemoCamp? Our next event here in Edmonton is coming up fast, on May 13th! Join us at the University of Alberta to see what local tech entrepreneurs are up to. As usual, we’ll head over to RATT after the demos for Edmonton’s best networking opportunity for tech professionals. If you’re new to DemoCamp, check out my recap of our last event. Here are the details for #7:

Date: Wednesday, May 13, 2009
Time: 6:30pm (and drinks/networking afterward)
Location: E1 017, ETLC, University of Alberta (map)
Cost: Free

The rules for DemoCamp are simple: ten minutes to demo real, working software, followed by a few minutes for questions. No slides allowed.

This time we’ve got a fantastic new sign up page for both attendees and anyone interested in demoing at this event or in the future. No more wiki craziness – just enter your name and click Register!

Help us spread the word – check out the BarCamp Edmonton blog and our Facebook group. Be sure to tag your tweets, posts, photos, and other content with democampyeg.

Hope to see you there!

Recap: Edmonton Photography Tweetup 1

The first Photography Tweetup here in Edmonton was held tonight at Red Robin downtown, organized by @TonyRatcliffe and @bruceclarke – thanks guys! The idea was simple – an opportunity for any local Twitter users interested in photography to get together to meet one another, share tips and resources, etc. About 20 people showed up, a really great turnout!

Edmonton Photography Tweetup

We went around the table and did introductions, and then enjoyed lots of chatter over food and drinks. Near the end of the tweetup, @TonyRatcliffe led a discussion about what the group hoped to achieve and what future events should look like. Everyone was there to learn, basically!

The next Photography Tweetup will be on May 12th, at 6:30pm at Ezio Farone Park (roughly 109th Street and 97th Avenue, just before you head south over the High Level Bridge). Keep an eye on the wiki and the #yegphoto hashtag for more information.

I love events like this. There were people who came out tonight who haven’t been to any of the other tweetups, or to any of the other tech events for that matter (DemoCamp, Social Web Meetup, etc). It’s a great opportunity for them to get introduced to everything that is going on Edmonton, in tech and beyond.

With that in mind, check out Edmonton FlickrMeets, a group of local Flickr users. They too have regularly scheduled photography meetups for anyone interested!

I posted a few more photos and short video here.

Edmonton Media Organizations on Twitter – Update 1

Back on March 3rd, I posted a list of local media organizations on Twitter. At that time, there were roughly a dozen organizations with official accounts. It was easier to count the number of organizations using Twitter, than those not using it.

That’s no longer the case.

Here are the local media organizations using Twitter as of April 10th, 2009, by category.




Of course, these are just the official accounts. For each of these, there are employees and personalities with their own accounts. That list of names is growing ever longer!

So which organizations are missing?

  • 101.7 World FM
  • 105.9 Shine FM
  • 790 CFCW, though there is @stella790cfcw
  • Access TV, though they do have @ABPrimetime
  • AM930 The Light
  • EZ Rock 104.9
  • Magic 99
  • OMNI Edmonton
  • SEE Magazine
  • Shaw TV Edmonton
  • The Team 1260, though there is @CoreyGraham

Some of these organizations may never get on Twitter, I suppose.

I think it’s fair to say that we’ve reached critical mass with regards to the local media on Twitter. It’ll be interesting now to see how they use it, especially as more and more Edmontonians join the service.

Recap: EdmontonTweetup4

Our fourth “official” meetup for Twitter users in the Edmonton area was a success! About 45 people stopped by Vintage Lounge this evening. The team at Vintage deserve major thanks for handling everything so smoothly, as we had many more people show up than was guesstimated a week or two ago.

Actually, I was quite impressed with the turnout. We had about the same number as Twestival back in February, but in comparison did little or no marketing. There were certainly no front page stories in the local newspapers for tonight’s event! Once again, there was a nice mix of new and familiar faces.


It looked like lots of orders of Mini Burgers came out from the kitchen. I ordered the Italian Sausage Macaroni for dinner, and thoroughly enjoyed it. The food menu at Vintage isn’t extensive, but it is good. Worth checking out.

Here are a few select tweets about tonight’s event:

  • @rlesueur: Tonight attended first #yegtweetup. Good evening, good people. I’ll be back!
  • @bruceclarke: Nice seeing everyone and meeting some new people at tonight’s #yegtweetup.
  • @alexismac: Had more fun at #yegtweetup than anticipated. Damn – now I have to go the next one.
  • @chrislabossiere: That was a great #yegTweetup thanks @alexismac for the wine, I owe you.
  • @thechadj: So extremely tired. #yegtweetup proves to be too much! Good times!
  • @ammneh: Ok that was fun! #yeg #tweetup
  • @ink_slinger: #yegtweetup was pretty good. Still going strong, but I’m heading out now.

Coming up next week is the NHL Tweetup, taking place at the same time and place as Techwing Wednesday, so it should be a big, diverse crowd. As always, check out the EdmontonTweetup wiki for other upcoming tweetups or to plan your own!

Thanks to everyone who came out tonight – sorry if I didn’t get a chance to chat with you! A partial list of attendees is up on the wiki, so feel free to add yourself.

See you at EdmontonTweetup5!