Putting MSNBC’s “The Cycle” through the Twitter Rinse

This week saw the debut of the replacement for The Dylan Ratigan Show on MSNBC, The Cycle. And what a newsy week it was to start!  So how did the gang of four do on Twitter?

Compare the daily Twitter mentions for The Cycle to how Dylan Ratigan did, on average, for the last seven weeks he was on the air:

Not bad — it’s a nice boost in activity.  The Cycle’s team has definitely engaged with their audience on Twitter.

How do they compare to the rest of the MSNBC “point of view” shows? Here’s how all those shows did for the most recent week ending Friday, 6/29/121:

The Cycle had a burst of enthusiasm on Monday and Tuesday as the show launched, and then settled down to be a strong member of the afternoon POV shows2

Who tweeted about The Cycle this week?

It appears that the demographics are skewing male3.  

So, what were all the tweets talking about? Here are the 20 most popular words (minus “stopwords”):

Not a lot of news related words, but Ms. Cupp is clearly a topic of discussion.   And this is confirmed when we look at the Twitter users most mentioned in the tweets:

I’m not sure if the @SECupp mentions are positive or negative, but if the trend keeps up I’ll do an analysis to see if it’s fan or hate mail!

(As an aside, I looked at the hashtags used, but apart from #TheCycle, there were no really popular hashtags in The Cycle‘s tweets).

I’ll check back in with them in a few weeks and see how they’re doing once they’re better established!


1: I tend to think of the MSNBC “week” as Saturday through Friday (or Monday through Sunday) so I don’t split up the two showings of Chris and Melissa on a weekend.

2: There is a problem with comparing The Cycle to the other shows: all the other POV shows have a single host, not four.  For the other shows I have adopted a sort of Le show, c’est moi approach:  tweets mentioning the host are counted as being tweets mentioning the host’s show.  But with The Cycle, the hosts all have large followings outside of their show.  Because of that, I don’t count tweets just mentioning one of the hosts as being a tweet that mentions the show unless the tweet also also has the hashtag or Twitter id of the show.

That above wording is a bit awkward, so an example may help: to find all tweets about The Cycle, I use the Twitter search “#TheCycle OR @thecyclemsnbc OR from:thecyclemsnbc”.  Whether a host’s ID is in the tweet is irrelevant.  But for Melissa Harris-Perry, I use “#nerdland OR @MHPshow OR @MHarrisPerry”.  So if a tweet just mentions Melissa, I count it as a tweet for the show. This probably means that my counts of mentions for The Cycle are biased smaller than they should be, while for the MHP Show the counts are probably biased higher.  Unfortunately, short of reading all the tweets, it’s hard to tell which Melissa tweets are actually in reaction to her show.  That’s Twitter for you…

3: Please see this article on the limitations of estimating gender on Twitter.

4: I think I just wrote more footnotes than primary text. Sometimes, how you know something is more interesting than what you know…

2 thoughts on “Putting MSNBC’s “The Cycle” through the Twitter Rinse

  1. This is very Inside Twitter (or maybe Inside MSNBC) as the numbers provide some additional insight and background to the consumption of news/entertainment. I’m not sure if the comparisons indicate a show’s popularity or potency. I may not recognize the intended relevance or meaningfulness of your efforts but, all in all, the final results are certainly engaging. Thanks for the work.

    • Seth,

      You’re spot on, it’s Inside Twitter and Inside MSNBC: the subject is interesting because it’s at the intersection of “old” media and “new” media. MSNBC isn’t the only place where this is happening, but they are very consistent in promoting Twitter interaction across their point-of-view shows.

      The integration of Twitter into broadcast shows may not have a real impact right now on the viability or profitability , but if it becomes a factor, sometime down the road, we can all say we watched and helped (maybe just a little bit) this emerge.

      Thanks for reading and thanks for the comment!

Comments are closed.