Tweetdown: Coke Vs. Pepsi — Coke is It!

Coke vs. Pepsi is one of the longest running, most hard fought battles in the marketplace. So I thought it would be interesting to see what kind of engagement the two brands have on Twitter.  Looking at a week’s worth of tweets, we can see the number of times each brand is referenced:

Coke vs. Pepsi in popularity on Twitter

Click on image to see larger version

And we can see that Coca Cola gets about 75% more references than Pepsi does.  An analysis of the gender of the senders shows that both brands are about evenly split between males and females (and that about 50% of the people tweeting are of unknown gender).

When you look at the sentiment expressed in the tweets, you can see that @cocacola and @pepsi tweeters are generally happy folks:

Sentiment of tweets, coke vs. pepsi

Click on image to enlarge

it is very unusual to see a large selection of tweets have virtually no tweets with a negative sentiment!

Finally, there’s a health balance between retweets and new tweets mentioning both brands:

Tweets vs. Retweets for Coke and Pepsi

Click on image to enlarge

The top 5 retweets for coke are:

total Tweet Text
412 RT @CocaCola: A smile is the best gift you can give (an ice cold Coca-Cola is a close second!)
236 RT @CocaCola: Sometimes a high five is so good you need to high five again to celebrate it!
51 RT @Foodimentary: On this day in 1886 @CocaCola is said to have been invented by @DocPenberton
32 RT @CocaCola: To do’s this weekend: skip, run, & enjoy Spring!
27 RT @CocaCola: Discovering a good tune is loved by all folk.  It’s fun Making_ _ _ _ _With_ _ _

The top 5 retweets for Pepsi are:

total Tweet Text
190 RT @pepsi: Happy Birthday Lady Gaga! We <3 you, mother monster! 26 looks good on you!! (cc: @ladygaga)
98 RT @pepsi: “I stand for freedom of expression, doing what you believe in and going after your dreams.” – Madonna
71 RT @pepsi: When life gives you lemons, ask for a gift receipt and get a Pepsi.
69 RT @pepsi: Let’s make memories tonight. #Cheers
60 RT @pepsi: Happy birthday to Elton John AND Aretha Franklin! #PepsiIcons #Legendary

I think it’s interesting that Coke’s retweets are coke centric, while Pepsi’s tend to mention celebrities.  Clearly a reflection of their marketing efforts.  It’s also interesting that, for Pepsi, virtually the only thing being retweeted are @Pepsi tweets (16 out of the top 20 retweets are from @Pepsi), while for Coke there is a broader mixture of sources (8 out of the top 20).  That generally indicates a more vibrant community for Coke.

Still, when I look at the activity for both brands, there is nonetheless a relatively low level of engagement with the overall Twitter community.  When you look at the engagement that TV personalities get, for example, it is way beyond what these two venerable brands get.

This shows an area which each can gain much more value from Twitter; the value of getting higher levels of engagement is immense.  If you read Robert B. Cialdini’s “Influence: The Psychology of Persuasion“, he talks about how taking small steps to demonstrate commitment can lead people to a deeper commitment.  In the case of Twitter, getting more people to tweet on Coke or Pepsi  will result in not only those people forming a deeper attachment to the brands, but serve as “social proof” for others as well.  It’s all well and good for the brands to tweet out, but it is those tweets back that drive real engagement.


All tweets mentioning @cocacola or @pepsi for a 1 week period ending roughly at 1pm on 3/31/2012 were collected and analyzed. Gender was assigned using a mechanical process that looks at first names and terms used in the description.  Sentiment was scored mechanically by looking at the choice of words and phrases in the tweets. Note that it’s very hard to gauge the sentiment of tweets, and so the large neutral ratings for each brand should only be interpreted as the inherent weakness in mechanical sentiment scoring.

Watching Twitter Watch the Melissa Harris-Perry Show

[Note: Since this post was published, I’ve done a more recent analysis of The Melissa Harris-Perry Show’s Twitter engagement.  You can see it here]

One of the great additions to MSNBC’s line up is the Melissa Harris-Perry Show on weekend mornings, airing from 10am to noon Saturday and Sunday.  And one thing that makes it great is the way the MHP show has engaged its audience via Twitter, even going so far as to invent their own hashtag, #nerdland (One day I’ll find out if this is a pun on Birdland).

So while everyone was watching MHP, I was watching twitter … and as you’d expect, there was a spike in activity as the show was underway:

Twitter Activity during the Melissa Harris-Perry Show on MSNBC

Click to see larger chart

New tweets are in blue, and re-tweets are in red; over the course of the 48 hours of Saturday and Sunday, about 38% of the tweets were retweets.

You can clearly see the activity building up right before the start of the show, but quickly dwindling afterwards.  Since I included @mharrisperry references in my count, the residual activity is a combination of show related tweets and tweets to/from Melissa herself.

Re-tweets are a great way to find topics that are starting to resonate with the audience — a retweet is a vote up, and as retweets become popular it gives us all a sense of what the community thinks is interesting or important.  Here are the top 10 retweets over the weekend (with the number of retweets for each):

108 RT @MHPshow: #TrayvonMartin’s mother is now on Twitter. You can follow her at @SybrinaFulton.
47 RT @keithboykin: @MHPshow made a compelling point about Obama’s birth certificate & #Trayvon’s shooting. As blacks, we always have to prove we belong here.
47 RT @majorzman: White men in multi-$1000 suits brought this country to its knees. And we are afraid of young men in hoodies? #nerdland @MHPshow
41 RT @chrislhayes: If you’re watching @MHPShow and enjoying it, take a second to send an email or text or FB message to someone else you know who would like it
39 RT @MHarrisPerry: This morning @MHPShow takes on serious issues of Affordable Care Act, GOP race & Trayvon Martin. On lighter side- Mad Men. #nerdland 10AM ET
36 RT @MHPshow: Melissa’s conversation today with three young men about what it’s like to grow up black in America right now: #nerdland
33 RT @MHPshow: James Baldwin was just quoted on the show. Here is the author being interviewed in Miami about race in 1963: #nerdland
30 RT @MHPshow: Now in #nerdland: Melissa talks to three black young men about growing up in today’s America. They’re joined by Dr. Jawanza Kunjufu.
29 RT @MHPshow: “White folks are sometimes looking for the slur; this is a pattern of institutional neglect,” said @timjacobwise. #TrayvonMartin #nerdland
29 RT @MHPshow: “It’s always on the side of people of color to fix something,” @AntheaButler said. #TrayvonMartin #nerdland

It’s interesting that so many of the retweets are from the show itself.  But it is also interesting that these tweets represent a small fraction of the roughly 2500 retweets that took place — so it’s clear that no avalanche took place (for an example of a retweet avalanche, see my article on when the Trayvon Martin story caught fire on Twitter).

Not surprisingly, the show was the most frequently mentioned twitter id in the tweets:

Viewers are clearly very engaged with what’s going on in the show.  Similarly for hashtag usage:

Hashtags used during the MHP show

Click for larger version

Almost everyone managed to include the #nerdland tag.

What I find most insightful, however, is the list of most frequently used words in the tweets (with stop words — the, and, etc. — removed).  This really gives you a flavor of the discussion going on:

I picked the top 30 words, but clearly the list goes on from there.  If you hadn’t seen any of the show, you could guess by looking at Twitter that the topics included something about “young black men”…

So what to make of all this? First, there’s a vibrant community of Twitter users who engage during the MHP Show, even if they disperse back to other Twitter communities when the show is not on.  Second, the community is carrying on an extended conversation about the topics being discussed.  Since the show itself is a discussion the majority of the time, it’s like an inner circle of conversation on the show and an outer circle of the same conversation on Twitter.  It would be an interesting dynamic to have a mixing of the conversations between those two circles as the show goes on….

I’ll try to come back to the MHP show in a few months and compare the Twitter communities to get a sense of the growth and change that has taken place.


I used all Tweets from 00:00 am Saturday until 11:59 pm Sunday that had either @mhpshow, #nerdland, or @mharrisperry in the tweet. 

Twitter reacts to Dick Cheney’s Heart Transplant

It’s no surprise that Dick Cheney’s Twitter pulse sped up last night:

Click on image to see larger version

Starting with a couple of tweets in the 6 o’clock hour, the volume exploded as news of his heart transplant hit the internet.

The top 3 (re-) tweets, with over 1800 messages, were jokes about his transplant.  I don’t care to reproduce them here, so you’ll have to search on Dick Cheney to see them yourself.  Number 4 (483 retweets) points out the irony of Cheney (presumably — for all I know, he paid cash) receiving government paid-for health care.  The fifth most popular retweet (435 times) I will quote, however — it is much milder and wittier than the top 3:

RT @michaelianblack: I guess Dick Cheney finally had a change of heart.

Using a sentiment analysis (which is fairly simplistic, to be clear), we can see that there’s a consistent level of negativity in the tweets.  Dick is not popular amongst many in the twitter crowd…

So I guess Twitter doesn’t heart Dick Cheney … (sorry, couldn’t resist).

I, however, wish Dick Cheney a speedy recovery and return to good health.


Tweetdown: The O’Reilly Factor vs. The Ed Show

Bill O’Reilly and Ed Schultz go head to head at the 8pm time slot on Fox News and MSNBC.  Earlier, I covered the relative twitter activity of Maddow vs. Hannity, and we saw how Sean Hannity’s followers were much more active on Twitter than Rachel Maddow’s.

I thought it would interesting to take a quick look at Bill O’Reilly vs. Ed Schultz.  Ed implores his viewers to tweet him in a poll every day, and so I was curious if that produced a greater response.

During this week (ending 3/23/2012), you can see the relative activity of each show’s viewers:

Twitter Activity of followers of the O'Reilly Factor vs. The Ed Show

And we can see that Ed’s requests of his viewers is followed.  And that led me to my next question: outside of the time Ed’s show is playing, how active are his followers?  So I added up the number of tweets each received by the hour of the day:

Tweets by hour of day for O'Reilly and Schultz

Ed’s commanding lead in tweets comes purely from the engagement he generates from his audience during the show (the show is also on at 11pm ET, which generates a second spike towards the very end of the day).

So the winner in this Tweetdown is Ed Schultz!

Bill O’Reilly: Why not engage your viewers on twitter? Ask them to tweet you what they think of a topic each night and we’ll have a rematch!

Methodology: I looked at all tweets from 00:00 on Monday to 23:40 on Friday that had either @oreillyfactor for Bill or @edshow OR #edshow for Ed.