Visualizing the #nonato Twitter hashtag – time series and top users

May 21, 2012

(This article was first published on Bommarito Consulting » r, and kindly contributed to R-bloggers)

  The NATO summit is currently being held in Chicago, and, as is typical for NATO or G# summits, the streets and tweets are full of dissent.  In the spirit of my past investigations of online dissent (#jan25, #25bahman, #12fev, #wiunion, #cn220, #march15), I thought I would investigate the #nonato tag, where Twitter users around the world are currently voicing their opinions on NATO, the NATO summit, and related topics.  Visualizing Twitter data is a simple and informative way to better understand these movements.

  The chart below shows the available history of the #nonato hashtag, beginning with @cliffpotts at midnight UTC on May 12 and ending at 10:30 UTC this morning.  The time series shows a daily cycle with highest frequency during the late afternoon and night for Eastern/Central users.  Furthermore, while the summit only began on Sunday the 20th, organizing traffic on the hashtag increased significantly day-over-day on the 18th and 19th.  While the height of each bar indicates the total number of tweets every half hour, the color of each bar also indicates the number of unique users participating in the conversation.  We see that the traffic prior to the 20th was primarily driven by a small number of users, whereas the 20th and 21st saw a greater diversity of users participating.


  Most Twitter movements, though large and somewhat decentralized, do have leaders or organizers.  The easiest way to identify these individuals outside of a network context is to simply count the highest frequency users.  The chart below shows the top 25 Twitter users over this period, including @sickjew, @cliffpotts, @OccupyChicago, @exileinflyville, and @laurapcd1.

  If you’re interested in more information about how the data and charts were produced, please see posts like #1, #2, or #3.  If you’d like a report or analysis like this for your own purposes, please feel free to contact me for more information.

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