During the four days following the release of Drake’s Views on Friday, April 29, Twitter was flooded with fan excitement about the new album. There were 3,828,931 tweets related to Drake’s Views in that period, most of them original tweets, not retweets, in what seems to be an attempt by users and fans to express themselves individually about the Canadian cultural phenomenon.
Is this an expression of individualistic behavior in social media? Juan Luis Suárez and Javier de la Rosa from Western University’s CulturePlex Lab believe it could be. But the digital humanists suggest that it could also be part of the attempt by many Twitter users to control the message and its diffusion by being the first ones to talk about the new album and provoke cascades of the same type of messages moving forward.
Suárez, who serves as the Director of the CulturePlex Lab, notes that, at least in the first few hours, not a single user monopolized the exchange.
“Our data shows that none of the top users have reached the 1,000-tweet mark and that the whole communication is widely distributed,” says Suárez, a professor of Digital Humanities and Computer Science at Western. “This makes it a very powerful network!”
Drake is not included in the list of top tweeters during this period. It should be noted that Drake’s official Twitter is @Drake, his account name is “Drizzy” and the performer has amassed 32.3 million followers since joining the social media platform in March 2009.
“Imagine the amount of retweets that would have followed an intense campaign using his personal account. Why not to use it? Because he does not need it. He is already the centre of the conversation and does not need to risk his prestige by using a bold and unwise marketing technique based on self-promotion,” says Suárez.
Top 10 users:
@uused2callme, 997 tweets
@SpotifyCares, 598 tweets
@fukeverything_, 488 tweets
@td3mm5inm, 442 tweets
@yusufyuie, 432 tweets
@musicopenn, 392 tweets
@banguza, 391 tweets
@AlternativeJJ96, 377 tweets
@hypem_charts, 373 tweets
@mp3audiomusics1, 335 tweets
The following is a word cloud masking art from by Colby Custer
In terms of cultural reach, there are a few interesting categories: English is the top language used in the communication about Views with 3,396,618 tweets, followed by French (118,567), Portuguese (66,226) and Spanish (29,989).
“The Portuguese tweets are predominantly from Brazil where hip hop is huge,” says Suárez.
The most interesting number comes from Norway that has a population of just over 5 million people but produced 11,517 tweets.
Top 10 languages:
English, 3,396,618 tweets
French, 118,567 tweets
Portuguese, 66,226 tweets
Spanish, 29,989 tweets
Haitian; Haitian Creole, 9,666 tweets
Indonesian, 6,567 tweets
Tagalog, 4,524 tweets
Dutch, 4,211 tweets
Welsh, 3,872 tweets
There are also 151,473 tweets labeled as unidentified.
If you place the language data along with the top countries during this initial Views frenzy, it becomes apparent that so far this is a North American, and to some extent, European cultural phenomena. This correlates with the all-North American tour that Drake has planned for 2016.
Top 10 countries (by number of geo-located tweets):
United States, 79,615
United Kingdom, 3,848
South Africa, 1,953
Republic of the Philippines, 358
“To make it more precise, the south and east of Europe, even Germany, are almost immune to this epidemic so far. No signs from Spain, Italy, or Greece, and little from the former Soviet countries,” says Suárez.
Another interesting finding about the geographic distribution of tweets, which is not always representative of the whole population tweeting, as not many users allow their location to be tracked, is the presence of three African countries in the top 10 list: South Africa, Nigeria and Ghana.
Apart from Brazil, there is no significant presence of the Spanish Latin America. In Asia, beyond the Philippines and Indonesia, all is quiet from the other largest cultural powers: China, India, Japan and South Korea. This is due in part to the ban of Twitter in China.
The following is a map of geo-located tweets showing that the consumer market for Drake’s music starts by occupying the social conversation in North America and northern Europe:
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