Which Twitter User Receives The Most Citations on Wikipedia?

by @edent | # # # | 3 comments | Read ~282 times.

I few days ago, I was somewhat surprised to find that one of my Tweets had been used as a citation in Wikipedia!

I began to wonder - how often are Tweets used in citations?

It's possible to search for your own Tweets using this (somewhat obscure) link:

https://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Special%3ALinkSearch&target=twitter.com%2Fedent

Just edit the end of it to see if you, or your friends, have been cited. Note - the username is case sensitive, so "Edent" isn't the same as "edent".

For example, we can see where Cory Doctorow is cited:

https://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Special%3ALinkSearch&target=twitter.com%2Fdoctorow

Aha! The page on the New Zealand Internet Blackout references:

Ok, so which Twitter user has been cited the most? TO THE API, ROBIN!

Wikipedia's own help pages are a little lacking, so I went to the help pages of the software which runs Wikipedia - MediaWiki.

We want to search for external URLs which point to Twitter and have a namespace of 0 (that means they're articles, not talk pages). We can grab a maximum of 500 results at a time, using JSON, and we want to include "www.twitter.com" and "twitter.com". Here's what we use.

https://en.wikipedia.org/w/api.php?
action=query&
list=exturlusage&
eunamespace=0&
eulimit=500&
format=json&
euquery=*.twitter.com

Run it yourself to see the results.

Limitations

Crappy Python!

import urllib2
import json
from collections import Counter

#euoffset=17800
api = "https://en.wikipedia.org/w/api.php?action=query&eunamespace=0&eulimit=500&format=json&list=exturlusage&euquery=*.twitter.com"

euoffset = 0

words = []

while euoffset < 17500:
    try:
        site_data = json.load(urllib2.urlopen(api + "&euoffset=" + str(euoffset)))
        #   Itterate through
        for element in site_data['query']['exturlusage']:
            #   Remove HashBangs #!
            #   Lowercase everything
            twitterURL = element['url'].replace("/#!","").lower()
            twitterUser = twitterURL.replace("http://twitter.com/","")
            twitterUser = twitterUser.replace("https://twitter.com/","")
            twitterUser = twitterUser.replace("@","")
            slash = twitterUser.find("/")
            if slash > 0:
                twitterUser = twitterUser[:slash]
            print twitterURL
            # print twitterUser
            words.append(twitterUser)
    except urllib2.URLError:
        print "Unable to retreive data"
        sys.exit()
    euoffset += 500

#   Most cited user
word_counts = Counter(words)
print word_counts

The Results...

The most cited Twitter users are...

  1. LaLiga A Spanish Football competition - 105
  2. Lea Michele An American singer / TV actor - 54
  3. Guldbaggen The Swedish equivalent of the Oscars - 35
  4. Kevin Tancharoen An American movie director - 12
  5. PRESTO card Ottawa's public transit smartcard - 10
  6. ICE T An American rapper - 10
  7. Northern Pride RLFC A British rugby team - 10
  8. 穴井勇輝(勇吹輝) A Japanese Actor - 9
  9. NICKI MINAJ An American singer - 8
  10. Counting Crows An American band - 8

And the most cited individual Tweet?

https://twitter.com/SyfyPR/status/313791237121507329

Linked to from lots of Lost Girl pages.

What Have We Learned Today?

Wikipedia does have a large amount of pop-culture (do we need hundreds of words on My Little Pony Characters?)

Twitter, unsurprisingly, has limited utility as an encyclopædic source - it's great for breaking news and ephemeral events, but it's fragile and lacks depth. There are very few occasions where Twitter would be the sole, and canonical, source of information [Citation needed].

Support this blog

Enjoyed this blog post? You can say thanks to the author in the following ways:

Donate to charity
Give to charity.
Buy me a birthday present
Amazon Wishlist
Get me a coffee
Donate on Ko-Fi.

3 thoughts on “Which Twitter User Receives The Most Citations on Wikipedia?

  1. Citation needed? That would be https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/WP:Twitter

    You're welcome.

  2. As a result of your post, I've arranged for hashbangs to be removed from Twitter URLs in Wikipedia; see here, for example .

    1. Terence Eden says:

      Brilliant! Thanks Andy.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.