World War One Hashtags and Television

One of the main hashtags over this year will be #ww1 – as many organisations and around the globe prepare to commemorate and remember the 100th anniversary of the start of World War One. On friday night, the BBC held a televised debate around the topic – much has been recently written on differing historial perspectives on world war one, the matter even arising in the Houses of Parliament.

So we’ve analysed three hashtags – #pityofwar, #thenecessarywar and #ww1

Firstly – #ww1 is huge – thousands of tweets so is analysed slightly differently.

The diagram below plots users talking to each other on #ww1


White lines show the conversation has gone back and forth, but the red lines indicate one way traffic. Not how few people on the 4000 or so #ww1 tweeters are conversing (assuming the hashtag is not dropped on the replies).

On these diagrams for #pity and #necessary you can see how “The Pity of War” became the more widely used hashtag, with more conversation.

TheNecessaryWar_1393847891json (1) pityofwar_1393848937json (1)

When looking at a retweet / tweet break down of the three hashtags, #pity shows the greatest percentage of tweets (the white area), while #necessary and #ww1 show an increasing number of retweets.

TheNecessaryWar_1393847891json_rt_contrib ww1_1393850113json_rt_contrib pityofwar_1393848937json_rt_contrib

Over the three hashtags – the number of replies is limited to approximately 10 percent. As we usually see replies often drop the hashtag and so this may skew the sample.

Retweets could possibly show agreement or a contentious point people want to reply too. It could also show how much impact people have on a hashtag. #ww1 has by far the most retweets, but most impressively is how often “BBC World War One” is retweeted.

ww1_1393850113json_retweetpityofwar_1393848937json_retweet TheNecessaryWar_1393847891json_retweet

And if we look at which accounts receive the most tweets on these hashtags – @bbcww1 is in the lead for all of them. You may expect this for #pity and #necessary, but for #ww1 is may be less expected – bar possible multiple hashtag usage.

ww1_1393850113json pityofwar_1393848937jsonTheNecessaryWar_1393847891json

You can see from these three plots of the number of tweets (per six minute periods) that the three hashtags spike when the show is on, suggesting that the occurrence of the show was driving people to tweet.

ww1_1393850113json_time_plot_words TheNecessaryWar_1393847891json_time_plot_words pityofwar_1393848937json_time_plot_words


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