Analysis Politics Twitter YouTube — Jean Burgess, 12 August 2010
Top 20 election-related YouTube videos (according to Twitter)

Update: this analysis covers a few less days than I originally stated – the results should look quite different once we add in this week’s links (and next week’s!).

Here are the top 20 Australian election-related YouTube videos so far up to last Friday morning, according to the Twitterati. Or to be more precise, here are the 20 videos which have been linked to the most in tweets containing the #ausvotes hashtag posted between 17 July and 6 August, according to the Twapperkeeper archive.

Couple of interesting things to note:

  • the mismatches between the Twitter link rankings of some of these videos with the number of views they have received on YouTube;
  • the low numbers of links generally (could be a glitch with the scripts, but I’m reasonably confident it isn’t)
  • the reasonably solid performance of ‘made-for-web’ comedy videos performed and/or produced by professionals
  • the high retweet value of ‘official’ campaign videos (in which I’d probably count GetUp!) – although it’s important to note that the tweets that go alongside the videos are frequently less-than flattering…
  • and if I may add a personal note, the only mild sharpness or funniness of even the sharpest and funniest of these videos…

[table id=2 /]

By the way, I made this table by importing a .csv into the very nifty WP-Table Reloaded plugin

A fairly big caveat: I don’t think this list tells us anything much about the role of YouTube in the election (if it even has one); or how Australian citizens are using YouTube as a platform to engage in either the media game around the election or the substantive issues. For that, I’ll need a different approach entirely – more on that later, I hope.

Even given all that, as someone with a fair bit of interest in YouTube, the list strikes me as less than electrifying. Where are the shocking, witty, cute or downright game-changing videos that the Twitterati has missed? If you know of some, let me know in comments here or on Twitter. Or is there just something deadeningly uninspiring (to critique or comedy alike) about this whole election?

How I did this: in short, with a lot of help from some very clever scripts, for which I mostly have Axel to thank. First we extract then resolve all the links ( and the like) to their ‘original’ versions; and then we have to normalise all the youtube links (which can appear in all sorts of formats).

Here’s the script to extract and normalise the YouTube links:


# youtubeextract.awk - extract YouTube links from Twapperkeeper export data
# extracts YouTube links from the first column of the CSV file, and standardises link format
# output format:
# youtubeurl, [original columns]
# for tweets containing multiple links, the script adds new rows for each link
# Released under Creative Commons (BY, NC, SA) by Jean Burgess and Axel Bruns - /

getline header
print "youtubeurl," header

$1 ~ /http:\/\/(www.)*youtu([A-Za-z0-9[:punct:]]+)/ {

do {
match(substr($1, a),/http:\/\/(www.)*youtu([A-Za-z0-9[:punct:]]+)?/,atArray)
a=a+atArray[0, "start"]+atArray[0, "length"]

if (atArray[0] != 0) {
youtube = ""
start = match(atArray[0],/v(=|\/)(.+?)&*/)			# case v=___________ or v/___________
if(start != 0) {
youtube = substr(atArray[0], start + 2, 11)
} else {
start = match(atArray[0],/#p.+\//)				# case #p/_/_/___________
if(start != 0) {
youtube = substr(atArray[0], start + 2)
sub(/.*\//, "", youtube)
youtube = (substr(youtube, 1, 11))
} else {							# case
start = match(atArray[0],"")
if(start != 0) {
youtube = substr(atArray[0], start + 16, 11)

if(youtube != "") { youtube = "" youtube }

print youtube "," $0


} while(atArray[0, "start"] != 0)


From there, I just counted them and looked ‘em up. :)

About the Author

Jean Burgess is a Professor of Digital Media and Director of the Digital Media Research Centre (DMRC) at Queensland University of Technology. She is @jeanburgess on Twitter.

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