Reports on Caitlyn (formerly Bruce) Jenner’s recent debut on the cover of Vanity Fair have cited an assortment of reactions from the Twittersphere.
But today text and sentiment analytics firm Lexalytics is releasing a definitive assessment of tweets on the subject that it conducted for VentureBeat — and the positive reactions vastly outnumber the negatives.
Jenner is the former Olympic track and field gold medalist Bruce Jenner who is now identifying as a transsexual named Caitlyn and whose family has been featured in the popular TV reality series, Keeping Up with the Kardashians.
The analysis was conducted on about 575,000 English-speaking tweets that mentioned “Caitlyn Jenner,” “Bruce Jenner,” “#callmecaitlyn,” or “@caitlyn_jenner” and that were issued from midnight to midnight, May 29 to June 2. The magazine, with Caitlyn’s portrait by famed photographer Annie Leibovitz on the cover, was released online on June 1, thus launching Jenner’s new identity. This is the entire collection of tweets mentioning Jenner’s new name or former name during that time period.
Of that amount, 43.78 percent or 251,717 tweets expressed positive sentiments, 12.16 percent or 69,907 were negative, and 44.06 percent or 253,332 were neutral.
In Twitter-land, this is heavily positive, Lexalytics CMO Seth Redmore told me. For most current event topics, he said, 60 to 80 percent are usually neutral. The tweeter generally just reports the subject, without opinion. This total number of tweets on a newsy subject is not unusual, he said.
Caitlyn can also add a new record to her collection — breaking the Guinness world record for the shortest time to acquire a million followers on the service, four hours and three minutes. The previous record had been President Obama’s of four and a half hours. As of today, Caitlyn’s followers on Twitter are slightly over 2.5 million.
Lexalytics’ sifting surfaced a few key positive themes — respect for Jenner, her beauty and fashion, and her track performance from back when she was Bruce.
Negative themes included her perceived awkwardness, her “trashy lingerie,” the facial feminization, and the post-surgery panic attack that she reported.
Redmore noted the repetition of two phrases in the tweets, “gonna lie” (in 236) and “gonna spell” in 652.
A typical example of the former: “Not even gonna lie, Caitlyn Jenner is pretty hot.” Some were negative, as in, “Not gonna lie, I think this is wrong,” but Redmore said most were expressions of surprise about how beautiful Caitlyn is.
The latter, “gonna spell,” was contained in tweets that pointed out the newest Jenner first name is spelled with a C, as opposed to the family’s Kendall, Kylie, Kim, Kourtney, Khloe, and Kris.
Lexalytics also tested whether the positive tilt for Caitlyn was at least partially because most people using her new name accepted her new identity.
That seemed to be at least one factor. Lexalytics’ analysis of all 181,658 tweets in the same period that mentioned “Bruce Jenner” was also positive, but only somewhat: 24.66 percent positive, 19.33 percent negative, and the rest neutral.
The tweet data came from Lexalytics’ partner DataSift, and it was processed for sentiment analysis and theme (the main buzz) with Lexalytics’ Semantria API.