January 16, 2012 Mark Bulling

#sherlock & the power of the retweet

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Much has been made over the last few days of Sherlock writer Steven Moffat‘s views on people who tweet whilst watching TV. Whilst watching it last night, I kept an eye on the tweets during the show and there was clearly a lot of volume going through the Twitter-sphere.

Interested to find out a bit more about the volumes, I used this excellent (and well used) Python script to pull the set of tweets from the beginning of the show through to 9.30am GMT this morning.

First off, a few head line figures:

  • Between 8pm and midnight there were more than 93,000 tweets and retweets.
  • Tweets per minute peaked at 2,608 at 10.30pm (excluding “RT” retweets). That’s more than 43 tweets per second on average.
  • There were more than 10 retweets per second at 10.45pm of @steven_moffat’s “#sherlock Yes of course there’s going to be a third series – it was commissioned at the same time as the second. Gotcha!” tweet.

The data, along with a little Tableau time series visualisation are below.

Update: Tableau Public doesn’t seem to play nicely with a WordPress-hosted blog, so click here to open in a new tab.


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Machine Learning and Analytics based in London, UK