The stats are in. Canadians, or at least a healthy number of them, geeked out on the 2016 census. According to our analysis using Sysomos MAP, 51,974 Canadians issued 65,107 tweets about the census between May 1 through May 10, inclusive. This includes retweets of tweets issues by some outside of Canada such as the most popular Canadian census tweet from @karengeier praising (perhaps accusing) Canadians of being “A PACK OF DANG NERDS.”
The most active day was May 3 with 20,603 tweets, driven by excitement related to the arrival of census forms in the mail and surprise that the StatsCan census website had been overwhelmed by enthusiastic participants. Overall traffic that day was helped by Prime Minister Justin Trudeau who issued what became the second most popular tweet about the census (see below) after the website returned to service.
Surprisingly, the census drove a more balanced mix of original content (regular tweets or communication, 44%), sharing of content issued by others (retweets or amplification, 47%) and engagement (replies or conversation, 8%). The census was truly a more interactive theme than most Canadian political/government related Twitter activity.
Ontario led census Twitter activity (54.4%) followed by BC (15.8%) and Alberta (11.4%). Quebec placed fourth (5.3%) with Nova Scotia (3.9%) and Manitoba (3.5%) not far behind.
The most common theme among Twitter participants was (pride about) the census website crash. Otherwise, the discussions covered the range of the return of the census, debate over the long form census and declarations from those who completed the form. A small number shared #censusselfies.
Participation in census tweets skewed female.