A Quick Look at the Reply-to-Retweet Ratio

May 15 2017 · by with Mike

Twitter users can retweet, like or reply to a tweet. If a tweet from a prominent account gets more replies than retweets then that’s usually Not Good.

Take, for example, this recent tweet from United Airlines. It got three times more replies than retweets. Those replies are not filled with praise, and that ratio was a sign to United’s PR team that they were in trouble, in case it wasn’t already obvious.

United Airlines tweet

Tweet from United Airlines

Which politician sends the worst tweets according to this reply-to-retweet ratio measure? And without wishing to add to Donald Trump’s problems, are things getting worse for him?

We scraped1 this information from the accounts belonging to Donald Trump, Hillary Clinton, Bernie Sanders, Paul Ryan, and weird Twitter favorites Mike Huckabee and dril. Explore the visualization below.

Things are getting worse for Donald Trump since his inauguration, but it’s clear that Paul Ryan is by far the worst tweeter in this group. Here’s the worst of his tweets, which received 27 times more replies than retweets.

For a more detailed explanation of this dataset, check out the write up on New York Magazine’s Select All technology blog.

1. We wrote ugly scraping code to collect this information because the official Twitter API does not return reply count. You can see the code (and use it to download information for another account) on GitHub. Our visualization shows tweets since January 2016 that received more than 50 retweets.

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