Plotting a Revolution: Time Series Comparison of #feb12 vs. #fev12

 I wondered yesterday whether one of the Algeria/Yemen hashtags would dominate.  In order to bring some numbers to the discussion, I grabbed all public tweets on #feb12 and #fev12 through this afternoon.  You can see the results below:

First off, note that all timestamps are UTC.  Second, based on the scale, it’s pretty clear that #feb12 is much more popular than #fev12, disproving the (stupid) logic in my previous post.  For an idea of how wrong my gut was, check out these few facts:

  • During the day of Feb 11, #fev12 had 207 tweets while #feb12 had 1,881.
  • Over the entire population, #fev12 had 2175 tweets while #feb12 had 54,204.

So the moral of the story is that stories, as convincing as they may be, are not necessarily true.  Always run the numbers! (On a related note, see Tyler Cowen’s TEDx on the danger of stories)