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Guardian wins newspaper URL tweet war

July 16, 2009 7 Comments

Other people have tweeted (or retweeted) the Guardian's URLs 328,288 times over the last 4 months - way more than any other UK newspaper.

The FT and Times have more followers on Twitter than the Telegraph and Mail - but they're not tweeted about as often. The Telegraph is in second place: 120,731 tweets by other people have included a link to one if its URLs. The Daily Mail is 3rd with 95,851.

How many times each newspaper has had a URL tweeted

Newspaper site Times their URLs have been tweeted Their own tweets about their URLs Other people's tweets about their URLs
Guardian 373,188 44,900 328,288
Telegraph 234,831 114,100 120,731
Daily Mail 101,751 5,900 95,851
The Sun 39,280 5,700 33,580
Independent 41,223 16,800 24,423
Times Online 71,459 48,130 23,329
Mirror 1,7381 3,500 13,881
Express 2,818 0 2,818 39,491 38,800 691
TOTAL 921,422 277,830 643,592

About the data

The figures show that the Guardian has successfully translated its massive follower advantage into other people tweeting about its URLs. There are some caveats about the data.

Number of times they have had a URL tweeted

The source for this data is the excellent BackTweets, which lets you check how often a domain or URL is tweeted. You can check how much tweeting goes on about this site, for instance.

BackTweets searches links for (a bit more than) the last 4 months.  And it indexes all links on twitter, regardless of the user. I collected this data at 8pm on Thursday 16 July. You can see the current figure by clicking the link in the table.

Eliminating their own tweets

The key to making sense of this is to remove the tweets from newspaper's own Twitter accounts about their own URLs (the Telegraph has one account with 70,000 tweets to its own URLs). What's of interest is how often other people tweet their URLs - not how often they do it themselves. This was a bit trickier.

I added up all the tweets from each newspaper's many accounts (and rounded the figure) to get the totals above. This isn't a wholly accurate comparison however (but it's the best I could do) as:

  • This data is for ever - not over the same 4-month period as the first set.
  • Different Twitter accounts will have been created at different times - some may have operated for ages, some for just a few weeks. I have no easy way to tell this.
  • Most newspaper Twitter accounts just tweet links to the paper's stories. A few engage with users, tweet other links etc (so the total tweets for these accounts will include tweets that didn't include a URL to their paper). However, I didn't try to account for this except for @TimesFashion - I took an arbitrary 30,000 off its self tweet total (because otherwise the Times figure came out negative).

I suspect it's this combination of things that make the FT figure look a bit odd. I've got more data on Twitter, Twitter statistics and newspapers if you're interested. Let me know what you think.

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