The International Twitter Response to The Emmys
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The International Twitter Response to The Emmys

By Steven Lloyd Wilson | Trade News | September 26, 2012 | Comments ()


One of the very socially responsible things that Twitter has done that gets very little press is maintaining a dedication to their role as being a repository of what the public says. A couple of years ago, Twitter donated to the Library of Congress their entire archive of tweets to that point (which amounted as I recall to some 90 billion tweets). Yes, they're a company that has a bottom line, but they also seem to take very seriously that having a record of what people think and feel and share, is something with lasting cultural significance that should be preserved, and not just something that can be packaged and sold.

Another way that Twitter provides services to this end is by having a very easy to use (if you are a programmer) API for accessing tweets in real time. They have a variety of different streams that are all basically subsets of what they call "the firehose" which is every tweet in real time. It's a firehose, because the volume is so massive that if you try to consume it directly you're going to get soaked.

One particularly interesting way to consume a subset of Twitter's feed is to only grab tweets that were sent from a GPS enabled device, for example a cell phone with the GPS feature turned on for Twitter, so that the tweet has latitude and longitude attached to it. That's what various websites that show you mashups of Google maps and various tweeting trends are using. I've had a program running on an old server of mine collecting any tweet with a GPS tag out of Africa, Eastern Europe, and Eurasia for the last nine months or so. And I can neither confirm nor deny that this is the case because of my status as the last of the famous international playboys.

In any case, I thought that it might be interesting to shine a light on what that feed picked up about the Emmys on Sunday and Monday of this week. The summary? Not much. I hate to break it to Hollywood, but the rest of the world really doesn't care.

Of the 1.8 million tweets from those two days in my database, only 168 used a hash tag containing some variation on "Emmy", "Emmies", etc. Now a large part of that is of course a consequence of language, but given that English language use is probably highly correlated with a desire to pay attention to an American cultural event like the Emmys in the first place, I think there's a strong argument to be made that we're not totally off base here. Besides, here is a selection of English language hash tags that individually beat all of the various Emmy hashtags combined:

  • (941 tweets) #TurkeyWants1DButManagementDontCare
  • (667 tweets) #earthquake
  • (502 tweets) #ThingsISayALot
  • (247 tweets) #iPhone
  • (237 tweets) #HappyBirthdayVladSokolovsky

Congratulations Vlad, your birthday is bigger than the Emmys in Russia. Want to know why? He's a Russian pop singer and he looks like this:


Jimmy Kimmel can't compete with that, it's just not fair.

So anyway, what are individuals from around the world saying about the Emmys? Here's my completely subjective favorite selection of places and deep intellectual thoughts:

Italy: "it's a shame that Jon Hamm didn't won #Emmys"

Kosovo: "#Emmy kinda boring"

Stockholm: "#emmys Horse puckey Horse Puckey Horse Puckey!!!!! Why is NOTHING fun happening!? Ellen streaking or @tomhanks puking over @jimmykimmel"

Turkey: "Yes please i want to sleep. Sherlock must win. #Emmys2012"

Finland: "Lost his brother or not, Torrey Smith's a bitch! Nice acting you asshole #EmmyAwards"

Kuala Lumpur: "@GiulianaRancic Looking gorgeous as always. The heels are amazeballs!"

Estonia: "I'm so happy for Homeland getting these #Emmys. It's such a great show!"

South Africa: "who wears combat boots to the emmy's #emmy2012"

South Africa: "I switch to the #Emmys and Big Bang Theory is on. Proof that the Emmys doesn't know real comedy."

South Africa: "I get very emotional during award shows. It's weird. #Emmys"

South Africa: "SETH MACFARLANE *LICK* #emmys"

[all four of these are from different posters in South Africa, which apparently is relatively big on watching the Emmys]

And through this entirely scientifically valid exercise, I think we can conclusively conclude that we have no conclusions at all.

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Comments Are Welcome, Bigots and Trolls Are Not

  • Dragonchild

    "I hate to break it to Hollywood, but the rest of the world really doesn’t care."

    Dude, you didn't hate doing that. Don't pretend that snark didn't give you immense satisfaction.

  • kirbyjay

    All I have to say about #EMMY's is Candace Bergen and Helen Hunt both won for about 20 straight years for one note characters, I'm just in it for the fashion.

  • fartpie

    So fucking what? I guarantee you the exact same thing happens with the BAFTA's. Christ, what a FAIL of making a huge controversy about HTE EMMIES ARE HTE SUCK AND MUST BE CANCELED!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! when said controversy never existed.

  • germdawg


  • zeke_the_pig

    I like Stockholm's style.

  • Theunis Stofberg

    don't mix South Africa's "want to watch the Emmy's" with South Africa's "lack of anything else on at the moment so I will just watch this"... And we were all pissed off at Modern Family winning so much. I cry Bullshit sir!

  • DominaNefret

    Can someone please explain to me "#TurkeyWants1DButManagementDontCare".

    Because I totally don't get it.

  • ihatemyselfnow

    i hate myself for this, but i think the hashtag is about one direction (1D), that terrifying british pop/boy band, who aren't touring Turkey for whatever reason.

  • Drake

    Vlad, here's $20. Go get a haircut, a shirt, a pack of condoms and meet me at my place.

  • Maguita NYC

    He is cute in a bit of a tacky way, isn't he!

  • Also, I really want to hang with the Emmys watchers in South Africa.

  • Fabius_Maximus

    Edit: Yes, that one was more terrible than usual. Sorry.

  • Well, helloooo Vlad So- wait, it was his birthday? Can I get an age confirmation before I get all "Hello, nurse!" up in here?

  • Amory

    he's 21. have a nice day :)

  • Maguita NYC

    All I can say is
    #HappyBirthdayVladSokolovsky!! If only our Backstreet Boys looked that good shirtless.

  • Mr_Zito

    "Now a large part of that is of course a consequence of language"
    I don't get what you mean here. The Emmys are the Emmys in any language. You might not understand what they are saying but they would still say the word Emmys. And yes, nobody cares about the Emmys, because TV is not so widely spread as movies across other countries.

  • You're forgetting different alphabets. Hashtags for "emmy" are different in different alphabets.

  • Miss Laaw-yuhr

    Whoah, let's just toss aside this emmy/twitter business and consider this Vlad fellow more closely (please god, let him be age appropriate). Sexy name, nice abs and a language I don't speak = hotness. Why hasn't he already been cast in True Blood or Game of Thrones or Magic Mike 2: Electric Bugaloo? You know, where he can showcase his "talents".
    I'll just bet he's called the Vlad the impaleHER.

  • Dragonchild

    Easy there, cougar. I know a lot of guys who'd look comparable if they similarly waxed their chests and slathered themselves in mineral oil. Don't get me wrong, there is NOTHING bad about enjoying eye candy, but you're looking at a carefully prepared dish there. If he can act let's give him a job, but let's not skip the GoT auditions just because of a wax n' oil photo shoot.

  • Margrete

    The reason we don't care is because it's shown in the middle of the damn night. For me it on from 2 am, and I gotz to go to school in the morning. This year I was actually up til 5, finishing a paper, and I checked in a few hours in. My response was "What? Amy Poehler didn't win? Fuck this shit". And I was out.

  • Funky_Brewster

    That was the exact same response I had here in America. It really is a small world after all. :)

  • lowercase_ryan

    what the fuck is going on in Stockholm? And Finland, YOU'RE THE ASSHOLE!

  • zeke_the_pig

    Yeah, dude, I've no idea, but I do know that I wanna be there to find out. Like right now

  • nini

    As a Finn, I can testify that we can be cold assholes with no emotions. Luckily an asshole with no emotions can be useful when you get repeatedly fucked.

    This time we were the mean ones (sorry) but luckily the Swedes were crazier!
    Plus we really don't understand your football, no matter what we try to tell others.

  • Anna von Beav

    Here's what I got out of this:

    oh, yeah, what the hell was up with that Tracy Morgan bit?
    that was a bit, right?
    oh god I really am a paedo, aren't I?
    those overall-y pants things are terrible, he should take those off
    there are more words under this picture, aren't there?
    I probably should read those
    good lord, that kid is hot

    *questions morals*

    Twitter what now?

  • Bedewcrock

    ditto. words.......then skipped to the picture.

    I thought there would be twitter screen caps I could read about the Emmys instead of all that paragraph stuff.

    my only (slightly) worthwhile comment: I'm disappointed those pants aren't overalls.

  • So Kuala Lumpur and Stockholm are countries? More importantly is it a quirk in your data that those are down to city level?

  • Sorry about that. The lat/lon is precise enough to narrow down what block one is posting from. The quirk is in me typing up the article and translating cities that I didn't recognize into country names (i.e. I had to look up where they were at). I just skipped over the cities with names I recognized.

  • So this feed would make a pretty good map of phone service in the area? That is unless it doesn't distinguish between network method e.g. Wifi, 3G or 2G.

  • It doesn't distinguish network method. Plus in less populated areas you'd get a lot of false negatives, since only about 1% of tweets have GPS enabled.

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