Can you predict how many followers @charliesheen has right now? ; Exponential growth? (Part 1)

Sometime on March 1, 2011, Charlie Sheen joined twitter at the suggestion of Piers Morgan, who is apparently some type of person. By the time I was alerted of the existence of a @charliesheen twitter feed, it was 4:04 PM Mountain Standard Time. Sheen had yet to tweet, but already had somehow amassed over 100,000 followers. He hadn’t even put up an avatar of himself yet (and somehow the account was “verified”).

What happened over the next several hours was nothing short of amazing. All you had to do was wait a few seconds or minutes and hit ‘refresh’, and just watch the number of followers climb.

I did this for about 50 minutes and took screen shots along the way.

Later that night, I refreshed every half-hour or so and watched the number climbing steadily. At this point, he had made his first tweet.

6:12 PM and ~261,000 followers.

Eventually I had to go to bed. So I did. And as soon as I woke up the next morning I went back to check Charlie Sheen’s number of twitter followers.

Now I’d be checking every hour or so. Recorded here.

The last datum I recorded was at 3:09 MST, at which point @charliesheen had 957,259 followers. So in less than 24 hours, Charlie Sheen had gained 800,000 followers on twitter.

I have two questions for you:

  • At what time March, 1, did Charlie Sheen join twitter? and,
  • How many followers does he have right now?

I’ll give my attempt at answers in Part 2. Stay tuned!

Note: here’s my data in less screenshot-y format (time, # of followers):

1-Mar

  • 4:04 PM,   109099
  • 4:07 PM,   112497
  • 4:09 PM,   116,143
  • 4:12 PM,   120195
  • 4:14 PM,   122901
  • 4:18 PM,   127643
  • 4:21 PM,   129793
  • 4:24 PM,   133357
  • 4:29 PM,   140215
  • 4:32 PM,   144103
  • 4:38 PM,   149528
  • 4:44 PM,   153848
  • 6:21 PM,   261894
  • 6:24 PM,   275638
  • 6:49 PM,   302077
  • 7:13 PM,   324595
  • 7:38 PM,   348955
  • 8:45 PM,   429904

2-Mar

  • 6:45 AM,   729703
  • 8:51 AM,   799,008
  • 9:36 AM,   820,538
  • 10:23 AM,   841940
  • 11:16 AM,   865972
  • 12:43 PM,   902291
  • 1:47 PM,   926557
  • 3:09 PM,   957259
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4 Responses to Can you predict how many followers @charliesheen has right now? ; Exponential growth? (Part 1)

  1. David P says:

    It actually doesn’t look exponential. Seems to be linear (though with two distinct sections). A linear regression of all the data gives y = 37519x – 454170 where x is the number of hours after 12am March 1st and y is the number of followers.

    That estimates the account opening at approximately noon (though based on the double trend its probably closer to 3pm). I have the excel file if you want. Not sure how to upload a picture or file here.

    • emergentmath says:

      I agree it looks extremely linear. At least from this data. Without spoiling too much, it looks a tad different if you use his # of followers now….

  2. Drew S says:

    If over time this changes and it becomes an asymptote, I would request that we do a dual entry on that and irony: http://www.chucklorre.com/index.php?p=237

    I swear I stumbled on that…

  3. Pingback: Can you predict how many followers @charliesheen has right now? ; Exponential growth? (Part 2) | emergent math

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