ONA12 In Tweets: Breaking Down Twitter Activity At 2012 Online News Association Conference

Every new conference involving journalists is debatably the most tweeted conference ever.

Journalists are relying on Twitter more than ever, and the practice of live tweeting has become common.

So it shouldn't be a surprise to anyone that the Online News Association 2012 Conference in San Francisco this past weekend generated a ridiculous 34,505 #ona12 tweets, Twitter tells me.

And that's just the number of tweets labeled with the official hashtag. Others used #ona2012 at times, just #ona, or #onaconf. Each panel had its own hashtag so sometimes those were used without #ona12.

Occasionally - it's easy to do now and then - we forget to include hashtags at all. There were also some who spent most of their time focused on live notes in Google Docs, like Anthony De Rosa of Reuters.

Still, that's an impressive number of tweets. There were more than 1,400 people in attendance, per ONA, so that's roughly 25 #ona12 tweets per person.

All of these tweets will disappear soon, as Twitter search only holds tweets for a certain number of days. So I used to grab all the #ONA12 tweets for the past seven days for some of the most active tweeters using the hashtag.

I collected #ona12 tweets from the following 30 Twitter users (recommended or found by searching through common users of the hashtag): @antderosa, @bydanielvictor @chrisboutet, @ckanal, @craigsilverman, @davidclinchnews, @deanpraetorius, @digidave, @digiphile, @ethanklapper, @ericcarvin, @eyeseast, @jeff_stern, @jenmacmillan, @jimbradysp, @greglinch, @katborgerding, @kategardiner, @katierogers, @kjmcginty, @lheron, @lindzcook, @marissaaevans, @mjenkins, @niketa, @nslayton, @nyt_jenpreston, @robquig, @stevebuttry, @webjournalist.

Collectively, these users generated 2,373 #ona12 tweets, or about 7% of the total #ONA12 tweets.

Ignoring user names, terms like RT, and panel hashtags, here is a word cloud of these users' #ona12 tweets from the past week (and only their #ona12 tweets). Yes, karaoke made the list.

1. Customize your cloud's style by editing the CSS where it says CUSTOMIZE below.
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This code and its rendered image are released under the Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial 3.0 Unported License. (


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Also worth noting, the most common user names tweeted by these 30 users: not surprisingly, Twitter CEO @dickc, who was interviewed on stage by @emilybell, tops the list. Number two is @joseiswriting who gave an emotional keynote address. Number three is @lheron of the Wall Street Journal who was active all conference, both in tweeting and participating in a panel.

Here are the eight most retweeted tweets of the entire conference, per Twitter.

Here are some other tweets that were popular, with at least a handful of retweets each:

On Breaking News

On Twitter Journalism

On Instagram

On Twitter The Company

On Visual Storytelling

On Twitter's Future

On Facebook Corrections

On Tweetdeck

On Innovation

On Business

Hungry for more? Poynter's Jeff Sonderman curated 12-bite sized takeaways from ONA.

A hat tip to Josue Cornier (full disclosure: went to college with him) who shared resources to help track the #ONA12 conversation.