Positivity Update

Positivity Update


The Twittersphere has been kind to Pittsburgh, but not kind enough for it claim the most positive tweets among the 15 Pittsburgh Today benchmark cities.

Our Positivity Index tracks what is tweeted about Pittsburgh and its benchmark cities and uses sophisticated analytics to calculate a score that reflects how positive those tweets are.

A review of the cumulative scores for the first 10 months of 2015 finds Minneapolis firmly at the top of the rankings, Pittsburgh in fourth place and Baltimore at the bottom of the rankings with a negative score that appears to be influenced, in part, by high-profile social justice issues.


Twitter data is not a representative sample of opinions and perspectives in a city. Users tend to be younger and somewhat more educated than the general population. More men use it than women. Conversations tend to be more positive than negative. And tweets that mention cities most often deal with sports and entertainment.

Take Pittsburgh, for example. The most of the frequently discussed topics tweeted locally relate to the city’s professional baseball, football and hockey teams. In fact, the hash tag, “#pirates,” occurred 130,000 times so far this year. Only “#pittsburgh” occurred more often.

Kansas City, second in the Positivity Index rankings, is another city whose positive tweets often dealt with sports teams, particularly the Royals, the city’s baseball team that rode out the season in first place and won the World Series.

Front-runner Minneapolis is an exception. Twitter conversations that reference the city are lean on sports talk and tend to reflect discussions about entertainment options and a general feeling of contentment. It’s also the only city where jobs and hiring are among the most frequent and positive topics among people who tweet. The most recent labor data show the unemployment rate in Minneapolis at 3.3 percent, which is the lowest of the benchmark cities.

Baltimore is an example how social issues can influence a social media platform dominated by lightweight banter about sports and entertainment. Tweets that mention the city turned heavily negative following the April 19 death of Freddie Gray, a 25-year-old African American man injured while in police custody. Only the hash tag, “#baltimore,” has been used more often than “#freddiegray” this year. Tweets about Baltimore are also influence by another popular topic, its professional football team, which started the new season poorly.