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The International Twitter Response to The Emmys

By Steven Lloyd Wilson | Industry | September 26, 2012 |

By Steven Lloyd Wilson | Industry | September 26, 2012 |

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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Steven Lloyd Wilson is the sci-fi and history editor. You can email him here or follow him on Twitter.