Simon Dumenco

Olbermann vs. Maddow vs. O'Donnell vs. (Piers) Morgan: Who Rules Twitter?

While Current Keeps Overall Viewers Under Wraps, Let's Turn to Dumenco's Trendrr Chart of the Week

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After Keith Olbermann quit MSNBC, he stormed off to his bedroom and plotted his revenge against his jerk bosses: He'd continue doing his show, he decided, with his own camcorder (he already had one in a box under his bed) and distribute "Countdown with Keith Olbermann" himself, thank you very much. His devoted fans would simply buy VHS copies of it by sending money orders to his P.O. box.

Or something like that . (For my colleague Andrew Hampp's take on KO's actual move -- to a teeny-tiny cable network -- read this: "Can Keith Olbermann Do for Current What He Did for MSNBC?")

How's he doing post-MSBNC? It's not quite clear. As the Baltimore Sun's David Zurawik wrote in a piece titled "Keith Olbermann: Where's the ratings transparency?", his relocated show has so far released only "highly-selective" Nielsen ratings figures: "Why don't we know how many viewers Olbermann had overall? The answer is : Because Olbermann won't tell us. To some extent, we media reporters and analysts only have access to those Nielsen ratings the subscribers (their clients) allow them to release. Companies like Current pay Nielsen to count viewers -- and it is their tune to which Nielsen dances."

So until we get a better picture of Olbermann's total viewership (Current won't be able to keep overall numbers under wraps forever), I thought I'd take a look at another metric: His social-media footprint, particularly on Twitter. Which brings me to this week's charticle, which uses data collected and parsed, as always, by our editorial partner Trendrr, the social-media monitoring firm:

Trendrr chart
Recent hourly tweet volume for Olbermann (orange), O' Donnell (green), Maddow (red), and Morgan (purple)

  • Leading up to the premiere of his new show, Keith Olbermann was getting name-checked in the range of 150 to 300 tweets per day. The premiere of his Current show on June 20 racked up a one-day peak of 11,132 tweets -- including not only his name and his new show's official Twitter handle, @CountdownKO, but show-specific Twitter terms that were trending that day, including "#kopremiere."
  • Post-premiere, a roll-up of Olbermann-related terms on Twitter fell pretty dramatically: to 3,800 on June 21, 1,819 on June 22 and 953 on June 23. The average now is about 500 to 600 posts per day.
  • A roll-up of terms related to Lawrence O' Donnell -- whose show MSNBC stuck in Olbermann's old timeslot -- averages in the 200 to 400 tweets-per-day range (with a recent one-day peak of 1,259 tweets on June 2).
  • To put things in context, fellow liberal talk-show host Rachel Maddow -- of MSNBC's "The Rachel Maddow Show" -- has seen plenty of peaks and valleys with regards to the number of tweets she scores each day (we measured a roll-up of Maddow-related terms for her, just as we did with the boys) with certain days garnering about 200 to 400 tweets, and other days in the 2,000s. Her most recent one-day peak: 3,604 tweets.
  • To add further context: CNN's Piers Morgan -- whose Twitter strategy I examined a bit here ("Can CNN's Piers Morgan Tweet His Way to Ratings Success?") -- is pretty much blowing the liberal pontificators out of the water, at least as far as tweets go. (To keep this week's chart from becoming an unreadable tangle of overlapping lines, I decided to keep other cable-news blowhards out of the mix for now.) Over the past month, Morgan has been averaging in the range of 5,000 to 8,000 tweets per day, with a peak of 16,976 on June 4.

Dumenco's Trendrr Chart of the Week is produced in collaboration with Wiredset, the New York digital agency behind Trendrr.

Simon Dumenco is the "Media Guy" media columnist for Advertising Age. You can follow him on Twitter @simondumenco.

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