What Percentage Of Scalzi's Tweets are IN ALL CAPS?: A Scientific Report

(NOTE: Based on time elapsed since the posting of this entry, the BS-o-meter calculates this is 8.442% likely to be something that Ferrett now regrets.)

Anyone who follows sci-fi author John Scalzi on Twitter knows that HE LIKES TO TWEET IN ALL-CAPS.  A lot.
And I wondered, as all good people do: “Exactly what percentage of John Scalzi’s Tweets are in all-caps, anyway?”  Fortunately, I’m a programmer, and I was bored, so I did what programmers do when they’re bored: investigate ridiculous premises.
The first step was to use Twitter’s API to snarf up as many of Scalzi’s latest Tweets as it would let me.  There’s actually a limit on the number of Tweets I can pull up from his history, so alas, I couldn’t get his entire timeline, just Tweets back to late October.
Then, I applied the following logic for each Tweet:

  • If it was an @-reply to someone, I didn’t count the Tweet, on the (perhaps erroneous) assumption that Scalzi is less thundrous when talking to a private audience.  (However, you’ll be pleased to note that 64.6% of Scalzi’s recent Twitterstream consists of replies.  He is gregarious.)
  • If someone was mentioned by their Twitter handle (like, say, @ferretthimself), I didn’t count those characters, since not even Scalzi consistently bothers to capitalize usernames.
  • If it was a hashtag or a URL?  Also not counted.  Though I’d love to see Scalzi start capitalizing his URLs, as in, “My latest essay is at HTTP://WHATEVER.SCALZI.COM/2012/12/15/AND-NOW-A-THOUGHT-FROM-JUSTICE-SCALIA/”
  • All spaces and punctuation marks were omitted, since Scalzi cannot possibly capitalize the space key.  ALTHOUGH I BET HE WANTS TO.
  • Finally, the first run of the program showed that Scalzi was being unfairly caps-credited for a simple RT.  So those were stripped.

When this was finalized, I was left with a very long string of characters that looked like Scalzi if you replaced his Coke Zero with Red Bull:

FunfactJohnWilkesBoothismygreatgreatgreatetcun
cleItstrueAlsoHehasthesamebirthdayasmeManifIse
eanotherjokeaboutLincolnandtheatersImightjusthav
etoshootsomeoneJustfinishedcheckingthecopyedito
fTheHumanDivision

In the end, I counted all sequences of two or more letters in ALL CAPS.  The final tally?
Total tweets counted: 886 (out of 2,506 total)
Total characters: 63,690
Total ALL-CAPS characters: 5,689
Scalzi’s ALL-CAPS percentage: 8.93232846601%
So there you have it: Scalzi’s online yelling to six significant digits.  When you talk with Scalzi on Twitter, you can rest assured that a minimum of 8% of his public Tweeting will in be ALL CAPITALS.  Those of you kept awake by any ambiguity in just how yelly Scalzi is can now, doubtlessly, rest.  Or could, if he wasn’t screaming in your ear.

1 Comment

  1. John Scalzi
    Dec 16, 2012

    I APPROVE OF THIS STUDY.

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