Family, friends, love and … Selena Gomez?? What we're thankful for, according to a Twitter analysis


On Thanksgiving, I took a few moments out of my day to use the real-time Twitter search capabilities of SAS Social Media Analytics, and the search term #thankful. I didn’t do this because it’s almost year-end review time and I can say I worked on a holiday. Not entirely, anyway. I did it to get a quick analysis of what we, as a society, are thankful for this year.

I let it pull in live tweets for several minutes until it reached more than 6,000 (or until I sensed my wife’s evil eye, boring into my head because I was ignoring the family on Thanksgiving).  After removing re-tweets, we’re left with more than 4,100 tweets that included #thankful. The brilliant Tom Sabo from the SAS Federal business unit took the data and helped me create “The Top 10 Things We Were Thankful For in 2013…Based on a Quick and Dirty SAS SMA Analysis Done While In a Turkey Coma.”

Concept linking chart shows how key terms are related

A visualization of popular concepts associated with love.

  1. Friends and family
    • No surprise here. Further analysis shows Mom gets the most love of any individual. Here are the associated terms, in order of frequency, where someone said they were thankful for family and/or friends. A list within a list. Consider your mind blown.
      • Family
      • Friends (general)
      • Mom + Mother + Mommy + Momma
      • Sister
      • Cousin
      • Brother
      • Dad + Daddy + father + papa
      • Parents
      • Baby
  2. Love
    • This refers to love, in general. Couple of popular terms associated with “love” were:
    • Bless/Blessed/Blessing
    • God
  3. For life and life’s lessons
  4. For Thanksgiving Day
  5. Food
    • #thankful co-occurs with #stuffed frequently. #deargodwhydidIeatthegizzard was seen far less often.
  6. Love (again)
    • But this time for a particular someone, though the terms “wife” and “husband” were only used a total of 20 times. Hmm…
  7. Football
    • There was even a mention of a football god, by a Raiders fan. I didn’t know there was a football god, but he surely forsook the Raiders years ago.
  8. Selena Gomez
    • Ah, the power of a halftime show. Or was it people still distraught over the break up with Justin Bieber? Rest easy. Time heals all wounds, America.
  9. A particular best friend.
    • This could be a good buddy or a family member. Or imaginary. I’m not here to judge.
  10. Wine
    • And I’m throwing in a bonus number 11, only because this is 10.
  11. Health
    • So wine and gluttony beat out health. “Oh, beeeautiful for spaaaaacious skies…” Sniffle.
A cluster of key terms

SAS text analytics organizes key terms in tweets into clusters or topics. Note the Selena Gomez topic 2/3rd down the list … was that you tweeting?

Here’s a smattering of tweets that SAS Social Media Analytics grabbed:

  • One of the cousins from the other side upon seeing Selena Gomez: "She doesn't have any pants!" #Thanksgiving #thankful
  • I'm #thankful @Bota_Box makes a 500ml Old Vine Zin that blends perfectly with cranberry ginger ale to make a spritzer.
  • Homemade pulled pork & #football. SOOO #thankful! #ThanksGiving2013 #NFL #HappyThanksgiving!!!
  • Lets play a game called: How long into dinner will it take before someone talks about Obamacare?!?! #thankful
  • Ate at Perkins for Thanksgiving dinner & as I was finishing up, grabbing my check, an elderly couple offered to pay my bill #thankful
  • My grandma dancing to Elvis Presley pandora might be the cutest thing I've ever seen. #Thanksgiving #thankful
  • I didn't see the episode of Family Guy where Brian dies. Fortunately, my cousin is recounting the whole thing at the dinner table. #thankful
  • Damn was really trynna see my cousin tonight who's home from the army #thankful for you cuz
  • The biiiiiig turkey!!!! #thanksgiving #thankful #thankyoulord
  • Today has been composed of food, football, NaNo, more football, and, oh yeah, more football. #besttimeoftheyear #thankful
  • All the women in my house just switched the TV from football to Steel Magnolias. I'm screwed. #thankful

Finally, it’s worth noting that the Dallas Cowboys were tweeted about more than the Raiders. Apparently, the Twitter god doesn’t care, either.

Learn more about SAS Social Media Analytics and follow me on Twitter @TrentSmithNC, where I frequently tweet about how #thankful I am for my boss, whom I hope is reading this.


About Author

Trent Smith

Trent handles government and education communications for SAS. Opinions shared are his own...or someone else's...he's not much for original thought. But they definitely don't represent SAS.

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