Monthly Archives: July 2012

London 2012 Twitter Olympics

The London 2012 Olympics are upon us.  Lots of athletes will be judged, timed and measured for the athletic things they do.  But aren’t the non-athletic things they do much more interesting?  Like tweeting?

No, of course not.  But that’s not going to stop me from holding my very own Twitter Olympics and handing out (virtual) medals for exceptional Twitter performances.

Below is the list of events and the results so far.  I’ll be rolling out more results as the real Olympics go on.

Preview Event: Games-Dropping

  • Who’s most pumped up for the games? In this event, Olympians score one point for every time they have used the words Olympics, Games, or London in their recent tweets.
Olympian Games, Olympics or London in Tweets
@SwissDom 41
@lolojones 37
@NickSymmonds 28

Full Results:  london2012_gamesd (.xlsx)

Sexy At-Mention

  • In this event, a sampling of thousands of tweets mentioning Olympic athletes was scored. The winning Olympian was the one with the most co-occurrences of their Twitter handle and the words “sexy,” “hottest,” “beautiful,” “cute,” “handsome,” “pretty,” or “babe.”
Olympian Sexy At-Mentions
@matthew_mitcham 25
@Joeingles7 8
@hopesolo 7

Full Results:  london2012_sexy (.xlsx)

The Sesquipedaliathon

  • In this event, scores are awarded based on the average number of syllables per word in the Olympian’s tweets.
Olympian Syllabes Per Word Longest Word
@juanmata10 1.76 visitaremos
@Njr92 1.66 spideranderson
@TipsarevicJanko 1.62 pantomime

Full Results:  london2012_sesq

Most Followed

  • In this event, one point is scored for each Twitter follower.
Olympian Followers
@Njr92 4,953,514
@juanmata10 1,164,329
@DjokerNole 1,111,326

Full Results:  london2012_user_info

Most Followed (by other Olympians)

  • In this event, one point is scored for each Olympian follower.
Olympian Fellow Olympian Followers
@MichaelPhelps 12
@usainbolt 11
@lolojones 9

Full Results:  london2012_degrees

London 2012 Olympians Twitter Follow Network

London 2012 Olympians Twitter Follow Network.  Arrows point from follower to followee.  Click the picture to view a larger version.

Most Follows

  • In this event, one point is scored for each Twitter user the Olympian follows.
Olympian Followees
@officialasafa 3,794
@Njr92 630
@TomDaley1994 542

Full Results: london2012_user_info

Most Follows (of other Olympians)

  • In this event, one point is scored for each fellow Olympian the Olympian follows.
Olympian Follows X Fellow Olympians
@ItsStephRice 8
@OscarPistorius 7
@RickyBerens 7
@drewsullivan8 6
@matthew_mitcham 6
@MichaelPhelps 6
@PopsMBonsu 6

Full Results: london2012_degrees

Special Event: Non-Olympian Most Followed by Olympians

  • The only event (so far) in which non-Olympians compete. Medals to those non-Olympians who are followed by the most Olympians.
Non-Olympian Name Olympian Followers
@OMGFacts OMG Facts 10
@SportsCenter SportsCenter 9
@espn ESPN 8
@Sports_Greats Sports Quotes 8

Full Results:  london2012_nonlist_followees

Olympic Followback

  • Most athletes have many more followERS than followEES. In this event, Olympians are scored according the proportion of their followers that they follow back.
Olympian Followback Percentage
@drewsullivan8 16.7%
@SmoothKJ88 14.2%
@EricBoateng 10.1%

Full Results:  london2012_followback



Olympians on Twitter Olympics

The Olympics bring together the world’s most talented and dedicated athletes.  And so does Twitter.  As a part of my continuing effort to try to do interesting things with the Twitter API, I decided to create my own Olympics for Olympians on Twitter. Er, yeah I think that’s right.

To begin with I created the sociomatrix of Olympian Tweeters.  A sociomatrix is a table where every person in a group gets a row and a column.  Each cell in the table indicates whether a relationship exists between two people (the row person and the column person).  To indicate this, one just places a zero in the cell if the relationship does not exist and one if it does.

Jack Rose Cal
Jack 1 0
Rose 1 0
Cal 0 1

Example Sociomatrix.  The relationship is row in love with column as per James Cameron’s Titanic.

I created a sociomatrix of Olympians on Twitter where the relationship was follows.  Given a sociomatrix, row sums and columns sums are usually interesting, quick summaries of the data.  In our case, a row sum is the number of Olympians one particular account follows.  A column sum is the number of Olympians following a given account.  So, without further ado, let’s get to our first event:  Olympian most followed by other Olympians.

Most Followed (by other Olympians)

Medal Olympian Followed By
Gold @BillyDemong 30
Gold @Shaun_White 30
Gold @ApoloOhno 30
Silver @lindseyvonn 28
Silver @emilycook 28
Bronze @GretchenBleiler 25

Do they allow ties in the real Olympics?  Probably not, but since these are virtual gold medals I’m handing out, why not?

You can probably guess the next event.  And this would probably be the easiest event to win if you knew it was coming.  We know who has the most followers, but who does the most following?

Most Follows (of Olympians)

Medal Olympian Follows
Gold @emilycook 73
Silver @StevenHolcomb 34
Bronze @TFletchernordic 32

The Sesquipedaliathon

Medal Olympian Syllables per word Longest word
Gold @LMCHOLEWINSKI 1.88   obesity
Silver @AngelaRuggiero 1.58   sustainability
Bronze @Pchiddy 1.57   anniversary

In the sesquipedaliathon, Olympians compete on their vocabularies.  Tweeters are ranked by the mean number of syllables in the words in their tweets.  Polysyllabic expressions win out over short words.

Sesquipedalian tweets may be the mark of a skilled wordsmith discussing a complex topic, or they may be the result of needless pretentiousness.  Syllables per word is one component of the Flesch-Kincaid readability scale.  According to the Flesch-Kincaid scale, the more syllables-per-word one uses, the more sophisticated the writing (or the less readable the text, depending on how you want to look at it).

The gold winner @LMCHOLEWINSKI is tweeting at about a 10th grade level.  @LMCHOLEWINSKI’s tweets clock in at about the same level as the discourse in the United States Congress,  according to recent analyses.

(For fun, I checked the syllables per word my dissertation tweetbot outputs.  At 1.61, my doctoral dissertation would take home a silver.)


Medal Olympian Tweets about “Games” or “Olympics”
Gold @ShaniDavis 19
Silver @AngelaRuggiero 17
Bronze @GretchenBleiler 16

For this event, Olympians score every time they use the word “games” or “Olympics.”  So the medal winners are (presumably) those who are talking about the Olympics most often.

Sexy At-Mentions

Medal Olympian Sexy At-Mentions
Gold @vitya_zvesda 16
Silver @lindseyvonn 15
Bronze @louievito 11

Yes, it has come to this.  I needed to find something to do with at-mentions, right?  So why not count for each Olympian how many times someone calls them sexy in a tweet?  And why stop with sexy?

One point for each tweet that mentions the athlete by their twitter handle and also contains one of the following words: hot, sexy, babe, handsome, pretty, beautiful or cute.

Non-Olympian Most Followed by Olympians


Medal Tweeter Olympians Following
Gold @lancearmstrong 30
Silver @ConanOBrien 24
Bronze @BarackObama 20
Bronze @TheEllenShow 20
Bronze @StephenAtHome 20
Bronze @universalsports 20
Bronze @shitmydadsays 20

This event was the toughest – as far as programming time goes.  First, I grabbed everyone my list of Olympians follow.  Then I aggregated to find out exactly how many Olympians followed each account.  Then I filtered out Olympians to get this list of non-Olympians most followed by Olympians.

That’s the last of the events for now.  Please check below for updates, and leave ideas for new Twitter Olympics events in the comments!


UPDATE: The list of Olympians used here came straight from Twitter’s verified accounts page.  However, it’s rather wonky.  I have a new, better list of London 2012 Olympians on Twitter and I’ll be re-running all of these analyses on this list.  Check for a link to the London 2012 version of these events on Friday the 27th.

UPDATE: London 2012 Twitter Olympics now available.