What’s in a Retweet? The Data Behind Viral Messaging on Twitter







I started collecting ReTweets a few weeks ago and have collected just over 84,000. I’m working on a system that will allow for mapping and analysis of ReTweet streams (sneak peak below), but in building that, I’ve already uncovered some interesting data.

Contrary to what I initially thought, “RT” is used more than 4 times more often than the full word “retweet”.

ReTweets occur at an average rate of around 258 per hour, and show a distinct increase during the work day and early evening.

Retweets contain the word please over 5 times more often than most tweets.

Retweets are generally longer than other tweets.

Almost 70% of ReTweets contain a link.

Tinyurl is overwhelmingly preferred as the URL shortener to use in ReTweets.

Let me know what other data points you’d like to see and I’ll see what I can do.

And here’s a very simple, very rough preview of the mapping tool: