Who is winning the Twitter Media Battle

Social media is heralded as the new power behind instant news dissemination, we decided to take a look at how well the main media companies are faring on Twitter, and to what extent the cyber topics and discussions are trending.

We examined all tweeting activities from the 30th of June to the 1st of July using the official Twitter accounts of main stream UK media (@BBCBreaking, @BBCNews, @BBCWorld, @CNN, @cnnbrk, @Daily_Star, @financialtimes,
@guardiannews, @Independent, @mailonline, @MetroUK, @standardnews, and @TelegraphNews). The chosen dates have been particularly active with Euro cup final and the LIBOR scandal.

In total, our twitter probe collected just under 97,327 tweets. We enriched the data with:

  • Sentiment rating to determine whether the tweets are positive, neutral or negative. We used two algorithms.
  • Viralheat – algorithm tends to favour positive and negative tweets
  • Twitter Sentiment – algorithm tends to be more neutral
  • Tweeter Influence, which measures measure the tweeter’s reach and influence out of a scale of 100, with 10 being low influence and 100 very influential

We compiled the analytics dashboards using Tableau Software’s visualization capabilities and Albatrosa’s own social media probe. Please find below a summary of our analysis. We welcome your comments and insight. We trimmed some of the data (including tweets) to keep the file size down. If you would like the full analysis, email us at sales(at)albatrosa.com.

If you believe Twitter, @CNN has the most active, with a share of 21% of total tweets. @mailonline comes second with 16% and @BBCBreaking is at 15%. All other candidates are in the single digits.

Yet, @BBCBreaking is the most retweeted, with 3.5 retweets per tweet, while @BBCWorld and @financialtimes messages were retweeted at only 2.4 and 2.0 respectively. This is a good indication the BBC and financial times have active social media followers.

The average sentiment across all the news channels swinged massively from 0.17 on the 30th of June, peaking at 0.42 on the 1st of July, and then steadily dropping to 0.32 on the 3rd of July. The range -1 to 1 with -1 being negative, 0 neutral, and 1 positive). @CNN and BBC channels weighed heavily on the total average. This means that tweeters have been shifted their sentiment over the analysis period. @Daily_Star topped most positive tweets with an average of 0.66 and @CNN at the other end of the scale at 0.05. Perhaps CNN is more interested in bad news whilst Daily_Star in more positive news. That said, Daily Star’s top tweet is “@GirlsAloudMedia: Haha! @Daily_Star #fail 2day on pg13, publishing the bum bikini pic of Kimberley claiming its a new pic when its from 2” which can explain the high sentiment.

65k of the tweets (67%) had a positive sentiment vs 32k negative. That said, tweeters with the most influence expressed more negative sentiment (30.72) than positive (29.54)

We examined influencers and damagers who had over 10 tweets positive and negative sentiment respectively using Tweeter Influence, which measures the tweeter’s reach and impact. Interestingly, all key influencers are media personalities or outlets.

@mailonline has the highest number of advocates and damager (85vs 30) followed by @CNN (75 vs 30). This is not a surprise considering that they both command the highest number of tweets.

Scatter diagram gives us a perspective of the tweet distribution across three measures – total tweets, average sentiment and average influence. High influencers hardly tweet. There is an even scatter of tweeters by influence and sentiment which explains the fluctuation.

The most talked about topics are gay couples in France, golf, bullied monitor in the US, LIBOR, and the great English weather. On particular days specific events dominated the headlines, including the Euro final and Manchester United floating on NYSE.

Tweets Avg Influence Score Avg Sentiment Score
@BBCBreaking: Gay couples in #France will be allowed to marry and adopt children from 2013, new PM Ayrault says 1,477 30 0.68
@cnnbrk: Tiger Woods wins 74th PGA Tour event to pass Jack Nicklaus on all-time wins list 973 28 1
@CNN: Students who bullied N.Y. bus monitor are suspended for a year 801 27 -0.7
@BBCBreaking: #Barclays chief executive Bob Diamond resigns with immediate effect, bank says 763 33 0.99
@BBCBreaking: June was wettest in UK since records began in 1910 – Met Offic 738 27 -0.55

So what can we conclude from all of this? To recap, CNN has the most vocal supporters and and most talked about, with more negative sentiment than others. Yet the @BBCBreaking and @financialtimes are by far the most retweeted.