Are Facebook Users More Optimistic than Twitter Users?

New Year’s Eve gives us a sense of closure on the past and an opportunity to make new dreams. With the emergence of social media, we can now see these reflections and resolutions transpire in realtime. As we observed the posts, comments, and tweets related to the New Year, we saw the typical expressions on Facebook and Twitter of best wishes for the coming year and pithy observations about the past year. What we didn’t expect was that users of the two popular social media sites would have different outlooks on the world.

As we enter 2012, Facebook users are more optimistic than Twitter users.

You’re probably wondering how we can say that. Well, we looked at all of the public posts on Facebook and Tweets on Twitter that contained “Happy New Year.” For all of those posts and Tweets, we compared the use of positive words such as “better” and “good” to the use of negative words such as “worse” and “bad.” We found that Tweets with positive words appeared 8 times more frequently than Tweets with negative words. You might be thinking a ratio of 8 to 1 is pretty optimistic…

It may be, but posts on Facebook had a ratio of 40 to 1–such a huge difference lead us to speculate that Facebook is a more optimistic place than Twitter.

Interesting stuff. Could be a variety of reasons for the difference, from the mix of users on each service to the fact that Facebook is used to communicate with friends, while Twitter is user to broadcast to followers. We’ll leave the speculation up to you.

Gnip Cagefight #2: Pumpkin Pie vs. Pecan Pie

Thanksgiving is a time for family gatherings, turkey with all the delicious fixings, football, and let’s not forget, pie! If your family is anything like mine, multiple pie flavors are required to satisfy the differing palates and strong opinions. So we wondered, which pies are people discussing for the holiday? What better way to celebrate and answer that question than with a Gnip Cagefight.

Welcome to the Battle of the Pies!

For those of you that have been in a pie eating contest or had a pie in the face, you know this one will be a fight all the way down to the very last crumb. In one corner (well actually it is the Gnip Octagon so can you really have corners, oh well) we have The Traditionalist, pumpkin pie and in the opposite corner, The New Comer, pecan pie. Without further ado, Ladies and Gentleman, Let’s Get Ready to Rumble, wait wrong sport. Let’s Fight!

Six Social Media Sources, Two Words, One Winner . . . And the Winner Is . . .


 Source  Pumpkin Pie  Pecan Pie  Winning Ratio
Pumpkin Pie to Pecan Pie
Twitter X 4:1
Facebook X 5:1
Google+ X 6:1
Newsgator X 3:1
WordPress X 5:1
WordPress Comments X 2:1
Overall +6 Winner! +0 :(


We looked at one week’s worth of data across six of the top social media sources and determined that pumpkin pie “takes the cake” (so to speak) across every source.

In this case, it is interesting to point out that in sources like Twitter, Facebook, Google+ and WordPress we see higher winning ratios, while sources that tend to have higher latency such as Newsgator and WordPress Comments were a little more even. Is this because, on further consideration, pecan pie sounds pretty good? Or is it that everyone will have to have two pies and, with pecan as the traditional second, it is highly discussed?

Top Pie Recipes

Even though pumpkin pie was our clear winner, we thought it would be fun to share a few of the most popular holiday pie recipes by social media source:

  1. Twitter – Cook du Jour Gluten-Free Pumpkin Pie and Pecan Pie Video Recipe from
  2. Facebook – Ben Starr’s Pumpkin Bourbon Pecan Pie Recipe
  3. Newsgator – BlogHer’s Pumpkin Pecan Roulade with Orange Mascarpone Cream Pie Recipe
  4. WordPress and WordPress Comments – Chocolate Bourbon Pecan Pie from

Non-Traditional Thanksgiving Pies

Another interesting fact that came out of this Cagefight was the counts of non-traditional Thanksgiving pies that were mentioned across the social media sources we surveyed. Though we rarely find these useful for communicating numerical values effectively, you can’t not have a pie chart in this post.

Happy Thanksgiving!

Gnip Cagefight #1: Beer vs. Wine

Welcome to the very first edition of the Gnip Cagefight! Over the next couple of weeks we’ll select a common word pair to enter the Gnip Octagon to fight to the finish in a no holds barred battle of Tweets. Two words will enter. Only one will leave.

In addition to crowning the victor, we’ll also call out some of the fun, interesting, strange, and bizarre trends that we glean from the data. Leave us a comment with any contenders you’d like to see in the future.

Now without further delay, let’s dive into our first Gnip Cagefight… Put your hands together for Wine vs. Beer!

And the Winner is . . .

We looked at one week of Tweets that contained the words “beer” or “wine,” and beer was the more commonly used term, appearing in 53.1% of those tweets vs. 48.1% for wine. Now you might be saying, “Hey, that’s more than 100%!” You are correct! That’s because beer and wine appear together about 13,801 times–along with an uncomfortable hangover, we presume. (Is this an opportunity to sell aspirin?)

With beer as our victor, we wanted to answer the age old question . . .

What time is Beer Thirty?

To answer this question, we analyzed the volume of Tweets containing the term “beer” throughout each day and averaged that across the week’s worth of data we collected. Each Tweet’s time was moved into the time zone of the Tweeter and normalized against the daily cycle of Tweet volume. Based on the graph below, true beer thirty is 5pm local time. This gives great meaning to the saying “It’s 5 o’clock somewhere.”

Beer Drinkers have a Wider Vocabulary than Wine Drinkers

Another fascinating tidbit that came out of the data was that beer drinkers have a wider vocabulary than wine drinkers. Normalizing for the number of words used, we find that beer drinkers use 14% more distinct words than wine drinkers. Wine drinkers tend to use the same idioms, for example, “glass of wine” or “red wine,” more than beer drinkers use their most common phrases. Does this mean that beer drinkers are 14% smarter than wine drinkers? Or that they use very creative spelling? We won’t wade any further into that question, but you can be the judge.

That’s all for our inaugural Gnip Cagefight. Hope you enjoyed it and be sure to let us know what what words you’d like to see in the octagon in the future.