#FreeKesha: A Sysomos Analysis

For our second Sysomos Map assignment, we were asked to analyze the conversation around a particular hashtag during the month of February. One topic immediately came to mind because I remembered tweeting about the issue myself for class during that time period. I focused on the “#FreeKesha” conversation that became so prevalent on social media when the court ruling brought the controversy front and center to the public eye, and fans and celebrities alike took to Twitter to express their feelings on the matter.

Some brief background information: Pop-star Kesha filed a suit in 2014 against her producer, Dr. Luke. She was seeking to void her contracts with him due to his alleged sexual, physical, and emotional abuse towards her. The first major decision came on February 19, 2016, when a New York judge ruled against a court injunction that would have allowed Kesha to produce music without her label, Sony, and Dr. Luke. It was of course followed by a social media outcry and led to trending topics such as #FreeKesha and #SaveKesha.

I looked into the #FreeKesha hashtag on Sysomos and found some very passionate points of conversation. One thing I instantly realized was there were some very big names in entertainment contributing their opinions, leading to major re-tweet activity. In fact, the breakdown of tweets using the hashtag was 87% re-tweets and 12% regular mentions.

Another interesting thing to note is the sentiment section. This feature typically separates tweets around a certain topic between positive and negative attitudes. In this case, it was obvious that people using the hashtag were in support of Kesha, but depending on the words they used, their tweets were classified as “positive” or “negative.”

Finally, it’s important to take note that the #FreeKesha conversation happened to correspond with the Oscars, which took place on Febrauary 28th. Lady GaGa’s performance of “Till it Happens to You” sparked even more social conversation about sexual violence, and Twitter users were quick to tie the two topics together and keep the #FreeKesha conversation strong.


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Word cloud for the hashtag.

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Buzzgraph showing other topics surrounding the hashtag. The conversation was very passionate among Kesha’s supporters, as we can see from words like “disgusted,” “heartbreaking,” and “justice.”

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Not surprisingly, the conversation was most dominant in the U.S. It looks like there was decent activity in parts of Europe, and in Brazil, which is more unexpected.

The most re-tweeted tweet came from MTV UK, showing solidarity with Kesha.

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Some of the other most retweeted tweets, coming from sources like Demi Lovato.

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This image shows some of the biggest names who weighed in on the matter – the “most influential” participants.

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The sentiment summary, which shows that even tweets in the “negative” category were still in support of Kesha, just using harsher language that would be classified as negative.

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Some of the tweets tying the controversy to Lady GaGa’s performance at the Oscars.

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And lastly, the breakdown of mention types, indicating the majority of hashtag mentions came in the form of re-tweets.

4 thoughts on “#FreeKesha: A Sysomos Analysis

  1. I think that this was a really cool hashtag to follow, especially because it’s so prominent in the news. I think that it’s interesting but not surprising that a lot of big name people were voicing their opinion on this matter.

  2. Not surprising to see California having a lot of engagement with the hashtag, but I wonder why so many Texans felt strongly about the issue?

  3. I think it’s pretty interesting that the top tweet for this trend came from a UK based Twitter account. I of course knew of Kesha’s popularity here but it’s cool to see she has such a following abroad as well. Also looking through the influencers you posted I didn’t see any names that immediately jumped out at me. This makes me wonder if the #FreeKesha movement is more grassroots than I originally thought.

  4. This is interesting because it’s such an important topic in today’s society and the timing with the oscars is perfect. There were so many trending tags during awards season but this one really was able to break through the crap and send an important message.

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