The Numbers Crunch: Tweet like an Egyptian

All 5 most-read JPost stories on Iranian threat; US news coverage focuses on domestic issues.

November 25, 2011 12:42
4 minute read.
The Numbers Crunch

Numbers Crunch 311. (photo credit: Mrkay Design)


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Tensions were simmering in multiple diplomatic spheres in the past week, and echoes could be heard all over the Internet. Egyptians got active again on Twitter leading up to and after Field Marshal Mohamed Hussein Tantawi’s rare televised address, JPost readers read up on stories on Iran, and Americans were following the 2012 presidential campaign.

Real-time Twitter tracking site Trendsmap provides a visual understanding of social media noise coming from Egypt in the past week, especially compared to Israel and the region. As crowds of protesters swelled on Tahrir Square, the symbol of the Arab Spring this year, the namesake hashtag was dominant.

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Another relic of protests past –  the #j14 hashtag – was “visible from space” this week in Tel Aviv, after hundreds rallied on Rothschild Boulevard to protest a series of bills that passed in preliminary votes recently that they say muzzle freedom of speech. The rally’s Facebook page garnered 468 “Likes” and 1,465 “talking abouts” – significantly lower numbers than the protests over the summer pulled.

In the US, too, the public was focused on domestic matters, with only 4 percent of the newshole devoted to unrest in the Middle East in the week that the Arab League suspended Syria’s membership. In contrast, this week was the biggest in terms of media coverage of the Occupy protests across the country, according to the Pew Research Center’s News Coverage Index. On Twitter in the US, too, the Occupy protests took the top spot, according to the PRC’s New Media Index.

The YouTube Newsroom was whistling a similar tune, again featuring videos from Occupy protests over the past week. One of the featured videos, from the University of California, Davis, showed police officers using pepper spray to disperse protesters. This video was viewed over a million times:

On, meanwhile, readers were interested in Iran and only Iran, if the data from the most-read articles is any indication. All five of the most-read stories reported on the Iranian nuclear threat, sanctions on Tehran, and comments on a possible military strike.


JPost Top Five most-read stories:

1. Israel watches as world rejects Iran sanctions
2. Iran army tests defenses as nuclear tensions rise
3. Moscow, Tehran say new US sanctions on Iran unacceptable
4. Panetta: Strike on Iran could hurt world economy
5. Iran trains Gazans to operate anti-tank missiles

On the JPost forums, however, there was a bigger range of topics being discussed, including two opinion pieces on Christian Zionism. Two stories from the most-read list, both on Iran, made it to the talkback list.

JPost Top Five most-active threads:

1. Panetta: Strike on Iran could hurt world economy
2. French consul injured after IAF strike on Gaza
3. Israel watches as world rejects Iran sanctions
4. Palestinians to Evangelicals: Zionism is a sin
5. An open letter to Christian leaders in Jerusalem

On unrest in Egypt, JPost readers expressed fear that Islamists were instigating unrest, in a recent poll. Sixty percent of over 2,000 respondents thought that such elements would use the volatile situation in the region to gain power. A further 17% of readers doubt that the military will transfer power after upcoming elections, despite Tantawi’s insistence.

Lastly, some random social media facts for the week.

• Facebook has over 800 million active users
• The average Facebook user has 130 friends
• 25% of Facebook users are in the US
• Over 350 million Facebook users access the site through mobile devices
• Twitter has 100 million active users
• An average of 460,000 Twitter accounts are created every day
• The biggest event on Twitter thus far was news of Beyonce’s pregnancy, with a peak of 8,868 tweets per second in August 2011
• Google+ has 40 million active users

From news sites to blogs, tweets to videos, The Numbers Crunch is a weekly column which zooms out and brings you the big picture online, from Israel, the Middle East and around the world, and poll results from

The writer is the Internet desk manager at The Jerusalem Post.

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