I’m still on the road for a number of research workshops and presentations in Germany, so this week’s version of our Australian Twitter news circulation index ATNIX has been somewhat slow in coming. On the upside, though, the server trouble we experienced last week has been addressed now, so we once again have a full set of numbers for the entire week. Here’s how they turned out.
Standard background information: this analysis is based on tracking all tweets which contain links pointing to the URLs of a large selection of leading Australian news and opinion sites. For technical reasons, it does not contain ‘button’ retweets, but manual retweets (“RT @user …”) are included. Datasets for those sites which cover more than just news and opinion (abc.net.au, sbs.com.au, ninemsn.com.au) are filtered to exclude irrelevant sections of those sites (e.g. abc.net.au/tv, catchup.ninemsn.com.au). For our analysis of ‘opinion’ link sharing, we include only those sub-sections of mainstream sites which contain opinion and commentary (e.g. abc.net.au/unleashed, articles on theaustralian.com.au which include ‘/opinion’ in the URL), and compare them with dedicated opinion and commentary sites.
ATNIX Week 29: 16-22 July 2012
We captured just under 160,000 tweets containing links to our 29 Australian news and opinion sites this week, so the 150-160,000 tweets range is quickly establishing itself as a stable target area – weeks well above or below that number must be considered to be exceptional. After the server-related issues of last week, the situation at the top of the leaderboard has returned to normal as well:
The seven leading sites – which in total account for some 75% of all tweets in the dataset – are stable not only in their order of ranking, but also in their contribution to the total number of links shared; the percentages this week are virtually unchanged from those in week 27 (here I’m ignoring the problematic week 28 once again).
As always, there’s slightly more movement in the opinion and commentary sites (and the corresponding sections on general news sites):
Compared to week 27, when it reached second place, The Age’s opinion section drops back again to fourth, while further down, New Matilda reaches sixth (up from ninth). Clearly, we’re dealing with smaller numbers here (just under 17,000 tweets linked to opinion and commentary articles) – so the occasional especially strong article can have a real impact on marketshare here.
And here are the day-to-day indicators (for the leading sites):
For the news sites (where I’ve shaded those days in week 28 which were affected by our server problems), the usual weekday battle between the Sydney Morning Herald and the ABC’s news section continues – with the ABC dropping back substantially on the weekends. There also seems to be something interesting going on with the SMH’s numbers: in three of the five weeks, it’s had a very strong Thursday, so I’m wondering if there’s a particular, widely shared column which appears on Thursdays. I don’t have the time to check this right now – but if that pattern continues, I’ll delve further into our data to see what’s going on here. (The other very strong day, incidentally, is Monday – which may be due simply to people returning to work after the weekend rather than to any special content features.)
Day-to-day patterns for opinion and commentary links look like this:
Here, a downward trend appears to continue: week 29 is roughly comparable to week 27, while the first two weeks were substantially more active; I’m convinced that this is due largely to the upheaval at Fairfax and the substantial amount of digital column inches devoted to it. Those discussions largely appear to have washed out of the system by now, though, and the increased chatter about further leadership trouble in the Australian Labor Party hasn’t yet manifested in an increased level of link-sharing tweets (perhaps people are heartily sick of this story by now). As a result, only one site troubled the 600 tweets/day mark last week. (Note, by the way, that I’ve continued to reshuffle the minor opinion sites and sections I’m including in this graph – this week, the well-performing New Matilda gets to play.)
Until next week!