Twitter and The Apprentice – some quick observations

I wrote last year about the ‘data flood’ that confronts you if you try to watch what everyone on Twitter is saying about the Apprentice. Well, it’s back, and more talked about than ever.

This isn’t surprising of course. Twitter has grown a lot since March last year, and people will always talk about what’s on television. The Apprentice, Big Brother, Seven Days and of course the X Factor are all ‘appointment viewing’ shows that are always widely talked about both online and offline.

This year, the team behind the Apprentice are not running the same live predictor play-along app they used last year, they’re instead joining in with and reflecting the activity that’s happening on Twitter.

Not only is Lord Sugar tweeting personally as @lord_sugar (yes, it really is him), there’s also an official @bbcapprentice account which focuses specifically on the show, doing a good job of sharing news and retweeting interesting stuff while the programme is on and during the week, but also makes use of a often-overlooked Twitter feature, the favourite. The @bbcapprentice account is using favourites to track the funniest and most interesting public tweets they’ve seen, and the official Apprentice site has a little ‘Favourite tweets’ box on the page which showcases them (with deep links to each), with a link back to the full list of their favourites too.

As an experiment, I used Twapper Keeper to create an archive of all public tweets using the #apprentice and #theapprentice hashtags. I’ve downloaded the archives and spent some time extracting basic stats and graphs from the results. There’s a lot of data to play with, so these are some very simple highlights.

Between 2010-10-6 20:30 – 22:30 there were 23,300 tweets hashtagged #apprentice, 19,782 tweets hashtagged #theapprentice and 390 which used both.

Here’s how the two hashtags were used during the evening. The yellow line represents all tweets which contained either #apprentice or #theapprentice (or both). This shows tweets per minute.

Apprentice episode 1, #apprentice vs #theapprentice

Both peaked during the boardroom scene, which was also the only point of the evening where #theapprentice significantly overtook #apprentice.

We can also dig into the data to spot interesting trends and popular terms throughout the evening. (Episode 1 spoilers follow…)

Apprentice episode 1, tweets hashtagged #apprentice and #theapprentice

Stuart and Dan were the most talked about characters, with Stuart getting some really clear spikes throughout. You can also see ‘sausages’ doing very well during the task, and the “you’re fired” moment quite clearly just before the end.

More stats….

When users were tweeting using #apprentice / #theapprentice they used these words in their tweets:

  • dan [3633 tweets contain this word]
  • like [3540]
  • sausage [2961]
  • stuart [2646]
  • team [1633]
  • baggs [1503]
  • boys [1484]
  • sugar [1469]
  • love [1435]
  • lord [1414]
  • fired [1330]
  • good [1120]
  • watching [1095]
  • girls [1045]
  • lol [983]
  • apprentice [970]
  • meat [826]
  • brand [781]
  • bunch [766]
  • synergy [760] (much more conversation about ‘synergy’ as a team name than ‘apollo’, with just 250)
  • alan [687]
  • leader [626]
  • watch [615]
  • guy [612]
  • twat [595]
  • sold [550]

Some people use multiple hashtags. People using #apprentice or #theapprentice ALSO also used:

  • #fail [77 times]
  • #bbc [57]
  • #sausages [56]
  • #xfactor [47]
  • #twitprentice [46]
  • #bbc1 [39]
  • #dan [34]
  • #sausage [31]
  • #yourefired [27]
  • #justsaying [25]
  • #lordsugar [23]
  • #nowwatching [22]
  • #cantwait [17]
  • #stuartbaggs [16]
  • #twat [14]
  • #you’refired [14]
  • #synergy [13]
  • #bringbackmargaret [13]
  • #fact [13]
  • #cock [12]
  • #danharris [11]
  • #yourfired [10]

There were some popular retweets during the programme. Here are some of the highlights:

  • RT @sueperkins: ‘I am Stuart Baggs the brand’. No you are Stuart Baggs the arsehole. FACT #apprentice [363 retweets]
  • RT @bbcapprentice: Stuart’s invisible calculator – available in a shop near you this Christmas #theapprentice [66]
  • RT @Bridge_Cafe: Oh I’m so glad he has gone. He didn’t even say thank you when I gave him his tea #theapprentice [62]
  • RT @pokeHQ: WOW! Margaret Mountford’s plastic surgeon is a godamn genius #apprentice [57]
  • RT @TheDollSays: Synergy Sausages: 5% meat 45% arrogance 50% shouting. #apprentice [41]
  • RT @sarajcox: Cringeable hahahahahahahahaha gotta love #theapprentice [36]
  • RT @heatworld: HA! Lord Sugar just told Dan off for not sitting up straight! AMAZING!!!! #theapprentice [34]
  • RT @justinmoorhouse: I’m a bit behind watching but I’ve already evaluated they’re all MASSIVE MASSIVE BELLENDS #apprentice [25]
  • RT @TheDollSays: Oh well done boys ‘Synergy’. Why didn’t you just call yourselves ‘Silver Mondeo’ and be done with it? #apprentice [18]
  • RT @danielmaier: I want to be on The #Apprentice just so I can go “You can’t fire me – I quit! Also you don’t actually employ me.” [15]
  • RT @scott_mills: “@brumster: synergy sausages trending! my faith in Britain and twitter restored! :) #theapprentice” C [10]
  • RT @ArmyofDave: The “everything I touch turns to sold” line actually physically hurt me #apprentice [7]
  • RT @charlesarthur: Every year the women are better than the men at #apprentice tasks. Yet no lesson is ever learnt from this. [7]
  • RT @bbcapprentice: Time to dim the lights folks. The Apprentice is back! Time to see the 16 candidates in action… #theapprentice [5]
  • RT @Revmoon: The #Apprentice explained by Mitchell And Webb – Flawlessly. [4]

People shared links. Lots of links, including these popular ones:

Who was doing the most tweeting with those hashtags?

  • @DavidCoulthard [92 hashtagged tweets during the 2 hour window]
  • @parispinki [71]
  • @kiramadeira [69]
  • @thisisjunaid [65]
  • @jammmie999 [64]
  • @Andre_p_Griffin [55]
  • @AngryBritain [53]

And which twitter users were mentioned most frequently?

  • @lord_sugar [391 different tweets mention him]
  • @sueperkins [288]
  • @bbcapprentice [196]
  • @heatworld [191]
  • @angrybritain [127]
  • @lukemarsden [95]
  • @daraobriain [92]
  • @cherylkerl [80]
  • @bridge_cafe [74]

Lots more to explore here. Even putting this basic list together, I’m asking myself questions: if the most talkative user managed to tweet 92 times in two hours, what was the average number? It turns out the graph above represents around 43,000 tweets from 13,500 unique users, so it’s 3.185 tweets per user. Slightly higher than I expected. Plenty more digging to do.

If you want to play with the data yourself, you can request the archives for #apprentice and #theapprentice from Twapper Keeper, or just grab the archives for 2010/10/06 – 2010/10/08 I’ve already created here and here for as long as those links work.

One reply on “Twitter and The Apprentice – some quick observations”

  1. Really interesting stuff Roo. A great tool for producers to understand what bits of the show ignite the viewer’s imagination and so on. Thanks for the introduction to the Twitter archive tools too.

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