Tracking the rise of the #BringBackOurGirls hashtag

BringBackOurGirls hashtagThe #BringBackOur Girls hashtag started out from Nigeria on April 23 and by May 9 had been included in 2,451,529  million tweets. Using Crimson Hexagon’s ForSight platform, I examined the numbers to track the evolution of the campaign on Twitter.

There were 738 tweets with #BringBackOur Girls on day one of the campaign, April 23 2014. The first tweet was sent by Ibrahim M. Abdullahi

In the first week of the hashtag, most tweets were from Nigeria – 56,725 – compared to 20, 340 from the USA. Posts by country The numbers changed in the coming week when Western celebrities and politicians joined the campaign. One of the early boosts came on April 30 when Mary J. Bilge sent out the following tweet: 

Her message was retweeted more than 4,500 times on one day alone. Piers Morgan and Def Jam co-founder Russell Simmons also drew attention to the abduction of the Nigerian girls. As a result, activity around the hashtag jumped from April 30 to May 1.

Interest rose again after Hilary Clinton used the hashtag on May 4:

The next big bump came with Michelle Obama’s tweet on May 7:

The FLOTUS message quickly became the most retweeted post, with 54,928 retweets and counting.

By May 9, the largest number of tweets were coming from the US at 435,873. But much of the activity was coming from Nigeria, with 319,792 sent on that day alone.


Posts by country

Week one word cloud

Week 1: Click for a larger version

I used the Word Cloud tool to give an indication of the discussion on the hashtag.

Here is what it looked like during the first week, when a large number of tweets came from Nigeria, based on a sample of 10,000 posts.

Word cloud

Week 2: Click for a larger version

The word cloud for the second week, when a significant number of tweets came from the US, shows a shift in the conversation, based on a sample of 10,000 posts.

Crimson Hexagon calculates potential impressions of 520 million during the first week, compared to 7.3 billion in the second week.

It highlights how celebrities and high profile political figures jumpstarted the hashtag campaign.

Interestingly, the number of unique Twitter users mentioning the hashtag has remained fairly consistent from day two

The the number of posts per user has also been fairly static. This measures how frequently each Twitter users posted using the hashtag. A higher score indicates a higher level of engagement and the depth of conversation.

Authors and posts from 2014-04-23 to 2014-05-09