The quantitative results were grouped into eleven information entities that were created after processing the 14 information categories collected into a spreadsheet: tweet date, time, language, tweet body, hashtag (#), mentions (@), URL in the tweet body, retweets (RT), RT author, favourite, favourite author, replies, reply author and reply body. Initially the “carbon copy” (cc) category was included in the list, but later discarded during the research as there were few relevant occurrences. The time metrics are introduced and discussed in this article.
Aggregate daily tweets
The aggregate daily tweets (Figure 1) reveal key information on the Twitter behaviour of the three account holders: Social Europe, EURes and Commissioner Andor. The highest daily tweet density, which shows the busiest day of the week, was recorded as follows: Social Europe on Thursday, EURes on Saturday and Commissioner Andor on Wednesday. EURes had constant Twitter activity and its daily tweet distribution shows a consistent density throughout the week except for Sundays, which is the lowest. EURes had its peak activity on Saturday. Social Europe’s Twitter activity increased gradually from Monday to Thursday and decreased from Friday to Sunday. Commissioner Andor’s Twitter activity had two peaks, the first one on Wednesday, and the second one on Friday. His first peak activity on Wednesdays might be explained through the need to share important pieces of news and decisions following the weekly European Commission’s college (all 27 Commissioners in 2012) meetings taking place on Wednesdays.
The lowest tweet density was recorded on Sunday for all the accounts: Social Europe with 8 tweets, EURes with 4 tweets and Commissioner Andor with 8 tweets. Sunday was therefore the least busy day of the week.
The daily and weekly averages were calculated by dividing the total number of tweets by the number of days and weeks of the year 2012. The results place Social Europe on top with a daily average of 2.5 tweets per day and 17.9 per week, followed by Commissioner Andor with a daily average of 1.9 tweets per day and 13.7 per week and EURes with a daily average of 1.1 tweets per day and 7.6 tweets per week. Wednesday was the busiest day of the group, if the three accounts are counted together. The daily average of 5.6 tweets per day of all three account holders shows a regular daily behaviour on Twitter.
The aggregate tweet volume also varies from one user to another. The aggregate weekly distribution is about 40 tweets per week, meaning approximately 13 weekly tweets published by each user.
The results are in line with Waters and Williams’ recommendations (2011, pp.360-361) on posting content with moderation and not engaging in over-tweeting. The 5.6 tweets per day means an average of about 2 daily tweets per user. The statistics also show a constant daily and weekly activity which is important when maintaining and expanding a network of followers and feeding them with relevant and timely content.
The busiest hour of the day (Figure 2) was between 12:00 and 13:00 for Social Europe, between 09:00 and 10:00 for EURes and between 14:00 and 15:00 for Commissioner Andor. On average the busiest hour of the three account holders was between 12:00 and 13:00. They started their daily Twitter activity in the morning, even between 06:00 and 07:00. Social Europe and EURes closed their activity after the working office hours (18:00) while Commissioner Andor later, around 21:00.
The Twitter hourly behaviour of the three account holders could be categorised as normal. The statistics shows which hour of the day they were the most and the least active. Occasionally Commissioner Andor had some activity during the night, but that occurred when he visited the USA and Mexico to attend two events. The account administrators stated that the statistics show a regular activity performed during the typical office hours. The lunch breaks are visible, although some intense activity was recorded during the breaks when running certain campaigns and events.
The total number of tweets published in each month of 2012 is presented in Figure 3.
The annual Twitter timeline configuration indicates that individual peaks were recorded for both Social Europe (221 tweets) and Commissioner Andor (113 tweets) in September while the peak of EURes (112 tweets) occurred in October. The peak activity of all three account holders together occurred in September (407 tweets). The least active period was in July for both Social Europe (5 tweets) and Commissioner Andor (24 tweets) and May (3 tweets) for EURes. The least activity of all account holders was recorded in July with a total of 40 tweets.
From the statistics it appears that after the summer break the autumn was the most intense period of the year when major events and activities took place. In September, Social Europe and Commissioner Andor focused on policies and a high level event, the Jobs4Europe conference, while EURes focused on European (Online) Job Days in October. The account administrators confirmed the results.
 Waters, D., R. and Williams, M., J. (2011), “Squawking, tweeting, cooing, and hooting: analyzing the communication patterns of government agencies on Twitter” in Journal of Public Affairs, vol. 11, No. 4, pp. 353-363