Archive for December 26th, 2010

Australian Twitter Sport Census: Most popular clubs & athletes in Canberra

Posted by Laura on Sunday, 26 December, 2010

The team and athlete list is based on the list found at ListDecember26.csv. I’m going to compare the results for December 26 with the November 18 most popular list. The December list is much more comprehensive than the November 18 one, which could account for some of the changes in ranking.

Data, data, data! Squee! Squee! Squee!

Looking at the data for comparison purposes, something got a bit screwed up somewhere. Teams are missing that shouldn’t be missing, namely the ACT Brumbies. The only reason I can think of for that is if a team renamed their account (seems doubtful) and I just didn’t pick up on it. Translation: I know the totals are right but I didn’t write the script so I can’t trouble shoot as to why these teams are missing. (What may have happened is that there were errors and some accounts were missed so I need to run the script again.)

22-Nov-10 26-Dec-10 Difference
University of Canberra National Institute of Sport Studies 307 331 24
Victorian Bushrangers 264 373 109
ACT Brumbies 238
Cadel Evans 221 226 5
New South Wales Blues 212 245 33
General Australian sport 192 207 15
AFL 185 190 5
NRL 179 192 13
St. George Illawarra Dragons 175 191 16
Canberra Raiders 169 180 11
Wests Tigers 157 165 8
Wallabies 152
Parramatta Eels 133 144 11
Collingwood Magpies 126 136 10
Stephanie Rice 115
Cycling Australia 103 112 9
Melbourne Demons 103 109 6
Sydney Swans 100 106 6
Cricket Australia 96 133 37
South Sydney Rabbitohs 93 103 10
Queensland Reds 93
Gold Coast Titans 92 102 10
Socceroos 86 88 2
Eamon Sullivan 85
Gold Coast Football Club 77 89 12
Western Force 74 1 -73
Penrith Panthers 73 76 3
New South Wales Waratahs 71
Canberra Cycling Club 66 70 4
Geelong Cats 64 69 5
Greater Western Sydney 60 63 3
Australian Boomers 59 65 6
Hawthorn Hawks 59 63 4
Essendon Bombers 56 60 4
Western Warriors 54 69 15
Carlton Blues 52 57 5
Mick Fanning 49 54 5
St. Kilda Saints 43 46 3
Libby Trickett 42
Cronulla-Sutherland Sharks 39 46 7
Jessica Watson 39 38 -1
Brisbane Broncos 36 41 5
Brisbane Lions 35 39 4
Australian Olympic Committee 34 37 3
Manly Sea Eagles 33 33 0
TeamVodafone 30 36 6
Adelaide Crows 28 33 5
Cycling ACT 28 32 4
Sydney Roosters 28 31 3
Richmond Tigers 27 30 3
Canberra Cavalry 25 30 5
Port Adelaide Power 25 28 3
Rugby World Cup 24
Velo Canberra 23 26 3
Melbourne Storm 23 25 2
Canterbury-Bankstown Bulldogs 21 21 0
Wellington Hurricanes 21
North Melbourne Kangaroos 20 25 5
Melbourne Vixens 20 20 0
Geoff Huegill 19
Tennis Australia 19
Western Bulldogs 18 21 3
South Australia Institute of Sport 18 18 0
West Coast Eagles 17 18 1
Central Coast Mariners Football Club 17 17 0
Hockeyroos 16 20 4
Wallaroos 16 15 -1
Netball Australia 15 17 2
Lauren Boden 14 16 2
Layne Beachley 14 16 2
New Zealand Warriors (Auckland Warriors) 14 15 1
All Blacks 13 14 1
Cyclones 13 14 1
Melbourne Victory 13 14 1
Melissa Breen 13 14 1
Newcastle Knights 13 13 0
Team Jayco Skins – Cycling Australia 13 13 0
Rochelle Gilmore 12 13 1
Amber Halliday 11 13 2
WNBL 11 13 2
NBL 11 12 1
Tamsyn Lewis 11 12 1
NSW Waratahs 11
Anna Meares 10 12 2
Australian Baseball League 10 12 2
Mitchell Watt 10 10 0
Sydney FC 10 9 -1
Andrew Lauterstein 10
Fremantle Dockers 9 11 2
Hockey Australia 9 11 2
Wollongong Hawks 9 11 2
Brisbane Roar 9 10 1
Melbourne Cricket Club 9 10 1
Amy Gillett 9 9 0
Australian Baseball 9 9 0
New South Wales Swifts 9 9 0
Perth Wildcats 9 9 0
South Dragons 9 9 0
Australian Diamonds 9 8 -1
Natal Sharks 9
Shelly Wu 9
A-League 8 9 1
Southern Redbacks 8 9 1
Queensland Firebirds 8 8 0
Rowing Australia 8 8 0
Country Rugby League 8 7 -1
Ashley Delaney 8
Pretoria Bulls (Northern Bulls) 8
Manly-Warringah Sea Eagles 7 8 1
North Queensland Cowboys 7 7 0
Rachel Neylan 7 7 0
Sydney Kings 7 7 0
Nicole Livingstone 7
International Olympic Committee 6 9 3
Timothy Roe 6 8 2
Australian Commonwealth Games Team 6 7 1
Adelaide Thunderbirds 6 6 0
Bridie O’Donnell 6 6 0
New Zealand Breakers 6 6 0
Sydney Swans Reserves 6 5 -1
Blair Evans 6
Emma Moffatt 6
Skateboarding Australia 6
Soph Edington 6
Sydney League 6
Athletics Australia 5 8 3
Queensland Bulls 5 7 2
Tassie Tigers 5 7 2
Sara Carrigan 5 6 1
Adelaide 36ers 5 5 0
A-League-W-League 5 5 0
Australia Paralympics 5 5 0
South Africa Lions 5 5 0
Michael Klim 5
Torah Bright 5
Sydney Olympic 4 8 4
Patrick Jonker 4 7 3
Townsville Crocodiles 4 6 2
W-League 4 6 2
AIS 4 5 1
Melbourne Aces 4 5 1
Perth Heat 4 5 1
Queensland RollerDerby 4 5 1
Sarah Kent 4 5 1
Volleyball Australia 4 5 1
AIHL 4 4 0
ANZ Championship 4 4 0
Australian Canoeing 4 4 0
Brisbane City Rollers 4 4 0
Canberra Handball Club 4 4 0
Cricket New Zealand 4 4 0
Dennis Rohan 4 4 0
Newcastle Jets 4 4 0
Nikki Butterfield 4 4 0
Petrina Price 4 4 0
Stephanie Gilmore 4 4 0
Sydney Roller Derby 4 4 0
Anastasia Rodionova 4
Casey Dellacqua 4
Matt Abood 4
Meagen Nay 4
Melbourne Rebels 4
Super League 4
Sydney Blue Sox 3 7 4
Adelaide United 3 4 1
North Queensland Fury FC 3 4 1
Adelaide Cyclists 3 3 0
Adelaide RollerDerby 3 3 0
Australia RollerDerby 3 3 0
Golf Australia 3 3 0
Newtown Jets 3 3 0
Perth Glory 3 3 0
Queensland Maroons 3 3 0
Volleyball SA 3 3 0
VRDL 3 3 0
Wellington Phoenix 3 3 0
Gold Coast United 3 2 -1
Canterbury Crusaders 3
Felicity Abram 3
Hayden Stoeckel 3
Norwood Football Club 3
Tennis Canberra 3
Welsh Rugby Union 3
New South Wales Breakers 2 4 2
North Ballarat Roosters 2 3 1
Athletics Victoria 2 2 0
Balmain Tigers 2 2 0
Bendigo Spirit 2 2 0
Brisbane Bandits 2 2 0
Netball Victoria 2 2 0
New South Wales U18s team 2 2 0
Shannon McCann 2 2 0
West Coast Fever 2 2 0
Western Australia Institute of Sport 2 2 0
Alicia Molik 2
Auckland Blues 2
Port Adelaide Magpies 2
Ryan Napoleon 2
Sally Peers 2
Swimming Australia 2
Sydney Tennis 2
Sydney Union 2
Western Australia Force (Western Force) 2
Kookaburras 1 4 3
Central Coast Bears 1 2 1
Waterpolo Australia 1 2 1
Adelaide Bite 1 1 0
British Lions 1 1 0
Casey Scorpions 1 1 0
Cricket Western Australia 1 1 0
Dandenong Jayco Rangers 1 1 0
DEC Spirit 1 1 0
Gymnastics Australia 1 1 0
Jess Miley-Dyer 1 1 0
Melbourne Heart 1 1 0
Melbourne Ice 1 1 0
NBR Roller Derby 1 1 0
New South Wales Institute of Sport 1 1 0
Perth Blitz 1 1 0
Port Melbourne Borough 1 1 0
RC Roller Derby 1 1 0
Rugby League World Cup 1 1 0
Sally Fitzgibbons 1 1 0
South Yarra Soccer Club 1 1 0
Southern Stars Ice Hockey Club 1 1 0
Victorian Institute of Sport 1 1 0
Wellington Lions 1 1 0
Williamstown FC 1 1 0
Wollongong Derby 1 1 0
Durban Sharks (Coastal Sharks)(Natal Sharks) 1
Glenelg Football Club 1
Jade Sutcliffe 1
Michelle Engelsman 1
Rebekah Keat 1
Runaway Rugby League 1
Sami Kennedy 1
Semi Professional Basketball League 1
Ski and Snowboard Australia 1
Springboks 1
Adventure Racing Outdoor Challenges 11
Cycling Victoria 8
General New Zealand sport 3
Netball New Zealand 2
Cricket New South Wales 1
United States Australian Football League 1

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Twitter Weekly Updates for 2010-12-26

Posted by Laura on Sunday, 26 December, 2010
  • Are there any Australian/New Zealand sport social media stats that people want? Any team they want details for? #
  • Pictures of snow in Australia: #
  • Australian sport Foursquare checkins: December 15 – 19: A-League tops : #nbl #wnbl #a league #w league #
  • Thanks Nick Riewoldt, I wanted to spend my evening benchmarking data about you. :/ (Plus side, St. Kilda data I have a lot of already.) #
  • Benchmarking Nick Riewoldt : #
  • How will the Nick Riewoldt controversy play out? #
  • And MySpace crashed by browser. Another reason not to use it. :/ #
  • The St. Kilda issue? If trying to write about it, do I need data for more players than Riewoldt ? #
  • I just ousted Tim W. as the mayor of KFC, Belconnen Mall on @foursquare! #
  • Why aren't people checking into Weet-Bix Sheffield Shield games on Foursquare? 2 Monday games: Zero checkins. #cricket #
  • This Vikings game is an unintentional advert for the Big Ten. GO CHICAGO BEARS. #
  • Benchmarking Nick Dal Santo Facebook group and fanpage size : #
  • Benchmarking Zac Dawson Facebook group and fanpage size : #
  • 12 hour change for Nick Riewoldt fan community on Facebook : #
  • St Kilda Twitter growth in response to latest nude photo controversy : #
  • Better use of time: Editing dissertation or writing three new chapters of my dissertation? #
  • If I could knock off another 3 chapters, 7,500 words… would be awesome. :) #
  • Looks like some one is deleting FB pages calling Riewoldt a pussy and other vulgar words. #
  • 36 hour change for Nick Riewoldt fan community on Facebook : #gosaints #afl #
  • St. Kilda Saints Alexa Rank in response to Riewoldt/Dawson/Dal Santo controversy : #gosaints #afl #
  • I've been on Twitter 1,002 days. Wow. Long time. :) #
  • And now for something completely offtopic: @Subway on Foursquare in Chicago : #
  • Your Twitter follow and profile information is not private. If you want it to be, delete your Twitter account and it becomes private! #
  • Today's goal is to finish rewriting a blog entry into a dissertation chapter. Not sure how optimistic I am about this getting completed. #
  • Australian sport sponsorship: Data tracking? #
  • I just became the mayor of Coldrock Ice Creamery on @foursquare! #
  • Greg Inglis on Facebook : #nrl #afl #
  • #abl #melbourneaces had 9 game checkins yesterday. #36ers in #nbl had 12. Top Australia sport Foursquare checkins. #
  • I think a jeweler at Canberra Centre was robbed as AfP Forensics is there and area gated off. + worried people standing around. #
  • I just unlocked the "Zoetrope" badge on @foursquare! #
  • I earned the Tron Box Office sticker on @GetGlue! #
  • Productive day: Edited two more chapters. (Fifth version of one.) #
  • Merry Christmas to myself. :) Uploaded most recent draft of my dissertation. Word count: 35,000. #
  • Code Flirting and Greg Inglis: Rabbitohs and Essendon Fan Response Online: #nrl #afl #gobombers #
  • I am watching Brian's Song #BriansSong (via @GetGlue) #
  • ZOMG. Brian's Song was a very sad movie. :( #

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Code Flirting and Greg Inglis: Rabbitohs and Essendon Fan Response Online

Posted by Laura on Sunday, 26 December, 2010

By Laura Hale
December 25, 2010

A copy of this paper can be found in PDF form here along with the related appendix. This is a first draft of a paper. It should be readable on its own. This article will eventually end up as a chapter in my dissertation. Additional statistics about Greg Inglis and the social media community have been collected. Given the scope of the topic, it was not possible to integrate this data into the paper. Please leave a comment if you want that data.

There is a gentlemen’s agreement between the three major football codes in Australia that players will not be poached from one code to another. This agreement is referenced by O’Neill (2007), a former Australian Rugby Union CEO, who controversially broke during the period when rugby union transition from an amateur game to a professional one. The code poaching agreement was an underlying part of the shock in the international and Australian sport media during the winter of 2009 when Karmichael Hunt and Israel Folau left the NRL for AFL expansion teams. (Pearce, 2009, July 30) (Sky Sports, 2009, October 20) (Gould, 2010) (Bradshaw, 2009, July 29) Some of the media coverage at the time implied that code poaching was intended as a publicity stunt (Bradshaw, 2009, July 29) to help build the fanbase amongst rugby league fans in a traditional rugby league stronghold.

During the winter of 2009, when a few prominent NRL players left, one player that was discussed, as another code switcher was Greg Inglis, a Melbourne Storm player, who was being actively courted by Essendon. (Gould, 2010, June 10) (Bradshaw, 2009, July 29) Nothing came of this talk during the winter. Subsequently, the Melbourne Storm went through a major salary cap controversy that resulted in the club forfeiting all their games during the 2010 season. The Melbourne Storm had to clear space to get back into compliance with the league’s salary cap. When the team wasn’t trying to keep Inglis in order to continue their tradition of winning, the team was trying to get rid of him to clear salary cap space. (Marshall, 2010, July 21) (Johns, 2010, April 26) In November 2010, it looked like Inglis was going to move to the South Sydney Rabbitohs. (Badel, 2010, November 11) In mid-December 2010, the NRL refused to certify Inglis’s contract, citing third party deals in violation of the salary as the reason. (Phelps, 2010, December 19). This led Inglis to talk to Essendon and switching codes. (AAP) Based on the author’s observation, a number of people on Twitter felt that Inglis was talking to the team in order to leverage his contract situation with the NRL and Essendon was talking to Inglis to get positive media attention. If that was the case, it worked as the NRL dropped their objections and Inglis was signed to the Rabbitohs on December 24, 2010. (Mawby & AAP, 2010, December 24)

The potential code switch for Inglis had implications for two leagues, the NRL and the AFL, and three clubs, the Storm, Rabbitohs and Essendon Bombers. Everyone involved had their own agendas. Essendon and South Sydney appeared to want Inglis to bask in the player’s reflected glory. The Storm probably wanted to clear their salary cap so they can gain back their reputation was winners. The NRL appeared to want to keep one of their best players. The AFL appeared to want to have an opportunity to gain audience share by poaching one of their competition’s best players.

Based on the author’s observation, Inglis’s code change possibility was interesting enough to warrant a number of comments on Twitter. The agendas at play are worth exploring to see if they were realized: Did Essendon see an increased amount of interest in the club as a result of their discussions with Inglis? Did interest in South Sydney differ from the result of the potentially losing one of the league’s premiere players? The social media community often responds much more quickly than the offline community: It takes a real commitment to become a club member and such a decision is not likely to be made while a player’s future is up in question. Given the speed of Inglis’s Essendon exploration and termination before signing with Rabbitohs, the online analysis approach is best. This chapter will look at the that using Alexa, Facebook, Twitter and Wikipedia data to see how a potential player code change effects teams on both side of the decision.


Alexa allows people to track the comparative amount of traffic to websites. It works using a toolbar that people install, which then tracks sites the people install. (alberto, 2009, July 13) Alexa is one of the few sites that provides traffic ranking for Australia. While it cannot tell people exactly how site visitors, it can give an idea of the site ranking amongst technology, public relations and social media friendly users. From December 4 to December 25, the world rank and Australian rank for the official websites of the Rabbitohs, Melbourne Storm, Canterbury-Bankstown Bulldogs, Sydney Roosters, Essendon Bombers, Geelong Cats and Collingwood Magpies were recorded. The Canterbury-Bankstown Bulldogs, Sydney Roosters, Geelong Cats and Collingwood Magpies were included as controls. The AFL and NRL sites were not included as a controversy involving St. Kilda Saints players occurred during the same period. That situation involved a fair amount of criticism for the AFL’s response.

Alexa data for AFL/NRL websites in December 2010

Figure 1. Alexa Australian AFL and NRL site rank from 4 Dec to 25 Dec.

News that Inglis was talking with Essendon began around December 18. The Rabbitohs saw a drop in traffic around that time, before it grew back. The day after the Rabbitohs officially signed Inglis was when they saw the most traffic during the Inglis affair. During that same period, the Melbourne Storm’s rank mostly fell, with a one-day spike the day after Inglis’s official departure. As a point of reference, the Australian rank for Sydney Roosters steadily increased and the Bulldog’s rank steadily decreased. Over in the AFL, Essendon saw a steady increase in traffic while Inglis was talking to the club. A drop in rank occurred for Essendon on the day the Rabbitoh’s announced Inglis’s official signing. During that same period, Collingwood’s traffic rank steadily declined. Geelong’s traffic stayed in the same general range, with a traffic boost on Christmas day.

World rank data, available in Appendix 10, shows the Rabbitohs rank had a greater fluctuation over that period. It went from 753,186 on December 18 to 772,298 on December 23 to 739,137 on December 25. Traffic appeared to drop off as it looked like Inglis may not sign, only to pick up again when people began speculating that Inglis’s were a feint to get the NRL to agree to the contract. From December 18 to December 25, the world rank for the Melbourne Storm, Sydney Roosters and Canterbury-Bankstown Bulldogs all decreased. In the AFL during that same period, Essendon saw a steady increase in their traffic rank while Geelong and Collingwood saw a steady decrease.

Australian and world rank both suggest that Essendon benefited from an increase in site visitors in response to Inglis’s talks with the clubs, while the Rabbitohs saw a decrease in traffic until it looked like Inglis was actually going to sign with the club. This suggests that Essendon’s flirting with Inglis helped create interest in the team.

Beyond traffic rank, Alexa can provide demographic data about a site’s visitors. On December 9, the information that Alexa provided about the Rabbitoh’s website was: is ranked #717,638 in the world according to the three-month Alexa traffic rankings. This site is in the “South Sydney Rabbitohs” category of sites. The site is relatively popular among users in the cities of Invercargill (where it is ranked #132) and Sydney (#10,897), and visitors to view an average of 2.8 unique pages per day. Approximately 18% of visits to the site are referred by search engines.

Besides a little fluctuation in the numbers, the profile did not change by December 25. Essendon’s site visitors were described as follows on December 11:

There are 248,437 sites with a better three-month global Alexa traffic rank than Bomberland. While the site is ranked #4,157 in Australia, where roughly 84% of its visitors are located, it is also popular in Malta, where it is ranked #440. The demographics of the site’s audience do not show substantial differences from internet averages. Bomberland’s content places it in the “Essendon Bombers” category. Search engines refer approximately 6% of visits to the site.

Like the Rabbitoh’s, Essendon’s visitor profile did not change by December 25. While Essendon may have benefited traffic wise and the Rabbitohs may have been slightly punished for the potential loss of Inglis, in neither case was there enough of a difference to change Alexa’s profile of visitors to the official club sites.


According to Alexa, Facebook is the second most popular site in Australia. (Alexa Internet, Inc., 2010, December 25). AFL clubs were quick to start using the site; clubs in the NRL were a bit slower and not all of them had official fan pages until partway through the 2010 season.

Facebook fan page membership is a good way to measure comparative interest. Membership totals were recorded for the same clubs looked at on Alexa on December 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 9, 11, 15, 16, 21, 22, 23, 24 and 25. This data can be found in Appendix 10. Once this was compiled, the membership difference and percentage difference was calculated for the period between December 5 and 16, December 16 and December 25, December 16 and December 22, and December 22 and December 25. This data can be found in Table 1. These time periods represent a period before the code change speculation, during the whole of the code change speculation, the period before most speculation that the talk was a ploy, and during period where most of the speculation occurred.

Table 1
Growth for official NRL and AFL fan pages

Difference South Sydney Rabbitohs Canterbury-Bankstown Bulldogs Melbourne Storm Sydney Roosters Essendon Bombers Collingwood Magpies Geelong Cats
5-Dec to 16-Dec 191 2,491 2,702 723 2,295 1,483 45
16-Dec to 25-Dec 142 832 1,856 566 1,265 1,042 35
16-Dec to 22-Dec 94 571 1,252 409 897 840 24
22-Dec to 25-Dec 48 261 604 157 368 202 11
% 5-Dec to 16-Dec 2.69% 5.39% 6.51% 2.38% 2.42% 1.38% 0.61%
% 16-Dec to 25-Dec 1.96% 1.77% 4.28% 1.83% 1.32% 0.96% 0.47%
% 16-Dec to 22-Dec 1.31% 1.22% 2.93% 1.33% 0.94% 0.78% 0.32%
% 22-Dec to 25-Dec 0.66% 0.55% 1.39% 0.51% 0.38% 0.19% 0.15%

The South Sydney Rabbitohs percentage growth was similar to that of the Bulldogs and the Roosters across all periods. They were outperformed by the Melbourne Storm, who were losing Inglis. For total growth, all the NRL teams looked at outperformed the Rabbitohs. Essendon outperformed its two AFL counterparts, both in total new fans and percentage growth. These differences do not change when the slope calculation is used. This data supports the idea that Essendon benefited from its brief flirtation with Greg Inglis, whereas Inglis’s contract and potential contract did not provide the Rabbitohs with any benefit in terms of Facebook followers.

On December 23, a search was run on Facebook for unofficial fan pages about Inglis. Of the groups found, only one referenced the AFL. It can be found at . Between December 23 and December 25, the page gained zero new followers, maintaining its fan level at 15. Based two links submitted to the page, it dates back to the earlier speculation that Inglis might have made a code switch. There were no fan pages that referenced his possible signing by the Rabbitohs and two fan pages about his abortive move to the Brisbane Broncos. One of these pages, Im going to Brisbane Broncos, LOL JK!! Im Greg Inglis, saw an increase of two members between December 24 and December 25. This increase could be interpreted as annoyance over the continued issues regarding Inglis’s perceived loyalties and willingness to keep promises to clubs/fans that he was perceived soon to be signing a contract with. Beyond that, the lack of creation of groups dedicated to Inglis and the Rabbitohs/Essendon could signal a lack of interest by Facebook fans of those clubs in having Inglis play for them.

Facebook growth indicates that Essendon benefited from the speculation that Inglis was going to switch codes and play for them. The Rabbitohs did not receive an answering bump. Fans were not motivated to join or create pages about the possibility of a code switch for Inglis. There was some benefit for Essendon, but if the latter had happened, it would have made a stronger case of Inglis being a benefit to the club.


Twitter is a microblogging site, allowing users to share their thoughts in 140 characters or less to anyone who chooses to follow them. According to Alexa on December 25, 2010, it is the ninth most popular site in Australia. Like Facebook, it is popular with Australian sport clubs; every club in the AFL and NRL has an official account.

Like Facebook, one way to determine if the Rabbitohs or Essendon received any benefit from Inglis’s code changing talk is to look at the official account for the team. This data was gathered every day from December 8 to December 25, with the exception of the 22, for the South Sydney Rabbitohs, Melbourne Storm, and Canterbury-Bankstown Bulldogs. As Sydney Roosters data was not gathered, the Newcastle Knights will be used for comparison purposes. Over that same period, data was collected for the Essendon Bombers and Collingwood Magpies. As Geelong Cats data was not, they have been replaced with the Western Bulldogs and Hawthorn Hawks. This data can be found in Appendix 10.

Once this data was collected, the difference, percent difference and slope was calculate for the period between December 11 and December 18, December 18 and December 25, December 18 and December 23, and December 23 to December 25. This data can be found in Table 2.

Table 2
Twitter Follower Statistics

Difference TheRabbitohs NRL_Bulldogs MelbStormRLC NRLKnights Essendon_Fc Collingwood_FC westernbulldogs HawthornFC
11-Dec to 18-Dec 21 22 46 19 36 106 43 44
18-Dec to 25-Dec 22 24 51 25 90 107 25 44
18-Dec to 23-Dec 17 15 45 16 73 88 15 30
23-Dec to 25-Dec 5 9 6 9 17 19 10 14
% 11-Dec to 18-Dec 1.52% 1.49% 1.64% 8.56% 0.47% 1.05% 1.97% 1.12%
% 18-Dec to 25-Dec 1.57% 1.60% 1.78% 10.12% 1.16% 1.05% 1.13% 1.11%
% 18-Dec to 23-Dec 1.22% 1.01% 1.58% 6.72% 0.94% 0.87% 0.68% 0.76%
% 23-Dec to 25-Dec 0.36% 0.60% 0.21% 3.64% 0.22% 0.19% 0.45% 0.35%
Slope 11-Dec to 18-Dec 3.14 3.14 6.74 2.89 4.71 16.18 6.49 6.38
Slope 18-Dec to 25-Dec 3.01 3.63 7.43 3.65 14.21 16.67 3.79 6.62
Slope 18-Dec to 23-Dec 3.35 3.03 8.66 3.15 14.78 17.95 3.08 6.16
Slope 23-Dec to 25-Dec 2.50 4.50 3.00 4.50 8.50 9.50 5.00 7.00

Using the NRL other teams as a benchmark, the Rabbitohs did not derive a follower benefit as a result of the Inglis code change story. On the other hand, Essendon likely derived some benefit from the Inglis story as their percentage growth changed substantially from the period before the Inglis story broke, during the story, and after it was confirmed that Inglis signed with the Rabbitohs. Collingwood, Hawthorn and the Western Bulldogs had much more consistent, but smaller percentage and total growth over all periods.

Another way to look at the Inglis code change flirting on Twitter involves using a tool called Twitter Venn, found at . This tool allows users to input three terms. A venn diagram is then created using Twitter search to show how many times these terms were used together. This was done with the keywords Inglis, Essendon and Rabbitohs. The results are viewable in Figure 2. Another venn was created using the keywords Inglis, AFL and NRL. This venn can be found in Appendix 10.

Inglis Rabbitohs Essendon Venn

Figure 2 . 25-Dec Twitter Venn.

The Twitter venn suggests that people were more interested in talking about the possibility of Inglis joining Essendon than they were interested in talking about Inglis’s contract with the Rabbitohs.

Both Twitter follower patterns and the Twitter venn suggest there was increased interest Essendon as a result of the possible code switch. The Rabbitohs did not benefit from increased followers, nor was there a similar level of conversation about the Rabbitohs as there was for Essendon. The code switch talks helped Essendon.


Wikipedia is an online encyclopedia that anyone can edit. The English language version has over a million articles. According to Alexa (2010, December 25), Wikipedia is the eighth most popular site in Australia. There is an active movement by Australian Wikipedians to improve the quality of AFL and NRL related articles. Some of these articles have over 2,000 edits.

Wikipedia often acts as a major news portal when scandals hit and related articles often get a large number of page views. During the Akermanis and Monaghan controversies, there was an increase in views to the player’s pages; there was a smaller increase in article views for the clubs the athletes played for. Unlike Facebook and Twitter, where users actively discuss a topic, or chose to identify with a club by following or fanning them, viewing a Wikipedia article can be seen as a form of passive interest in that no one sees this expression of interest. Reading an article does not imply the same level of interest. Article view data is still worth examining in order to gage the level of non-fan interest around a topic, epitomized by the aforementioned Akermanis and Monaghan situations.

Article view data is available from Wikipedia article traffic statistics at . The page views per article for the period between December 1 and December 24, 2010 were recorded for the following articles: Melbourne Storm, South Sydney Rabbitohs, Newcastle Knights, Sydney Roosters, Essendon Football Club, Geelong Football Club, Collingwood Football Club, and Greg Inglis. This data can be found in Appendix 10. A line graph was created using this data for the period between December 10 and December 24 and can be found in Figure 3.

Greg Inglis Wikipedia Traffic

Figure 3 . Wikipedia Article Views.

Just looking at the graph, neither Essendon nor the Rabbitohs saw a large traffic increase on December 22, when the Greg Inglis article saw the greatest number of views. This observation can be verified by looking at the correlation between the club article and the Greg Inglis article. In the period between December 1 and December 24, the Inglis/Essendon correlation was -0.02 and Inglis/Rabbitohs correlation was 0.03. This correlation is so small, it suggests a random pattern between the two. If the period is shortened to between December 18 and December 24, the period when speculation about a code change was at its greatest, the correlation for both strengthens a bit to 0.20 and -0.36 respectively. Still, these numbers still largely imply a random relationship. A meaningful correlation does exist between Essendon and the Rabbitohs in the period between December 18 and December 24: 0.76. This says that views for the articles both went up and down together. For the period between December 1 and December 24, the correlation was 0.45. While the Essendon/Rabbitohs correlation appears meaningful, the pattern of increasing and decreasing could relate to overall patterns increasing and decreasing interest in the AFL and NRL: There is a correlation of 0.83 between Geelong and Collingwood. Neither of these clubs was involved in any major trades or controversies during that same period.

Wikipedia correlations and the line graph suggest that neither Essendon nor South Sydney benefited with increased page views as a result of the Inglis code switch story. Put in the context of Facebook and Twitter, there was much less interest by the general public in this story. People on Wikipedia did not care much about Inglis’s possible code change.


In mid-December 2010, Greg Inglis talked with Essendon’s coach about the possibility of playing for the club as the NRL had refused to certify Inglis’s contract with the South Sydney Rabbitohs. This topic was talked about on Twitter, Facebook and other places on the Internet. There was speculation that this was a play for media attention by Essendon, and that Inglis was using Essendon to strengthen his position with the NRL. Whether or not this speculation was on the mark, Inglis’s actions had an impact on online actions taken by fans.

Alexa data suggests that Essendon benefited from talking with Inglis, while the Rabbitohs may have been punished with less traffic as a result of a major signing not happening. Alexa also suggests that despite traffic patterns changing, the web audience for both clubs did not change: The Rabbitohs and Essendon kept their established demographic patterns. Audience activation or deactivation was inside its own fan community pool.

Essendon also saw a bump in new fans on Facebook, where the Rabbitohs did not. Despite the increase in followers, Facebook fans did not create or join groups and fan pages to support Inglis joining their club. Essendon benefited on Facebook but not as much as they could have.

Twitter data show that Essendon again got a follower bump as a result of Inglis’s code change flirting; the Rabbitohs did not. Beyond follower count, more of the discussion on Twitter involving Inglis mentioned Essendon than the Rabbitohs.

While Essendon saw an increase in followers and traffic on the previous sites, it did not see a similar bump on Wikipedia in response to Inglis’s talks with them. Likewise, the Rabbitohs did not see an increase or decrease in article views as a result of the Inglis’s actions.

Inglis’s actions suggesting he might play for Essendon helped the club activate its fanbase, getting the team increased web traffic, more Facebook followers, more Twitter followers and generated more discussion on Twitter than Inglis and the Rabbitohs. The South Sydney Rabbitohs either were punished for Inglis’s possible defection or had no change in fan community behavior. This sort of flirting might be a good thing for clubs who desire some short term attention online.


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Appendix 10

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