Text analysis of Trump tweets


This post is to proclaim the MathematicaVsR at GitHub project “Text analysis of Trump tweets” in which we compare Mathematica and R over text analyses of Twitter messages made by Donald Trump (and his staff) before the USA president elections in 2016.

The project follows and extends the exposition and analysis of the R-based blog post "Text analysis of Trump’s tweets confirms he writes only the (angrier) Android half" by David Robinson at VarianceExplained.org; see [1].

The blog post [1] links to several sources that claim that during the election campaign Donald Trump tweeted from his Android phone and his campaign staff tweeted from an iPhone. The blog post [1] examines this hypothesis in a quantitative way (using various R packages.)

The hypothesis in question is well summarized with the tweet:

Every non-hyperbolic tweet is from iPhone (his staff).
Every hyperbolic tweet is from Android (from him). pic.twitter.com/GWr6D8h5ed
— Todd Vaziri (@tvaziri) August 6, 2016

This conjecture is fairly well supported by the following mosaic plots, [2]:

TextAnalysisOfTrumpTweets-iPhone-MosaicPlot-Sentiment-Device TextAnalysisOfTrumpTweets-iPhone-MosaicPlot-Device-Weekday-Sentiment

We can see the that Twitter messages from iPhone are much more likely to be neutral, and the ones from Android are much more polarized. As Christian Rudder (one of the founders of OkCupid, a dating website) explains in the chapter "Death by a Thousand Mehs" of the book "Dataclysm", [3], having a polarizing image (online persona) is as a very good strategy to engage online audience:

[…] And the effect isn’t small-being highly polarizing will in fact get you about 70 percent more messages. That means variance allows you to effectively jump several "leagues" up in the dating pecking order – […]

(The mosaic plots above were made for the Mathematica-part of this project. Mosaic plots and weekday tags are not used in [1].)

Concrete steps

The Mathematica-part of this project does not follow closely the blog post [1]. After the ingestion of the data provided in [1], the Mathematica-part applies alternative algorithms to support and extend the analysis in [1].

The sections in the R-part notebook correspond to some — not all — of the sections in the Mathematica-part.

The following list of steps is for the Mathematica-part.

  1. Data ingestion
    • The blog post [1] shows how to do in R the ingestion of Twitter data of Donald Trump messages.

    • That can be done in Mathematica too using the built-in function ServiceConnect, but that is not necessary since [1] provides a link to the ingested data used [1]:

    • Which leads to the ingesting of an R data frame in the Mathematica-part using RLink.

  2. Adding tags

    • We have to extract device tags for the messages — each message is associated with one of the tags "Android", "iPad", or "iPhone".

    • Using the message time-stamps each message is associated with time tags corresponding to the creation time month, hour, weekday, etc.

    • Here is summary of the data at this stage:


  3. Time series and time related distributions

    • We can make several types of time series plots for general insight and to support the main conjecture.

    • Here is a Mathematica made plot for the same statistic computed in [1] that shows differences in tweet posting behavior:


    • Here are distributions plots of tweets per weekday:


  4. Classification into sentiments and Facebook topics

    • Using the built-in classifiers of Mathematica each tweet message is associated with a sentiment tag and a Facebook topic tag.

    • In [1] the results of this step are derived in several stages.

    • Here is a mosaic plot for conditional probabilities of devices, topics, and sentiments:


  5. Device-word association rules

    • Using Association rule learning device tags are associated with words in the tweets.

    • In the Mathematica-part these associations rules are not needed for the sentiment analysis (because of the built-in classifiers.)

    • The association rule mining is done mostly to support and extend the text analysis in [1] and, of course, for comparison purposes.

    • Here is an example of derived association rules together with their most important measures:


In [1] the sentiments are derived from computed device-word associations, so in [1] the order of steps is 1-2-3-5-4. In Mathematica we do not need the steps 3 and 5 in order to get the sentiments in the 4th step.


Using Mathematica for sentiment analysis is much more direct because of the built-in classifiers.

The R-based blog post [1] uses heavily the "pipeline" operator %>% which is kind of a recent addition to R (and it is both fashionable and convenient to use it.) In Mathematica the related operators are Postfix (//), Prefix (@), Infix (~~), Composition (@*), and RightComposition (/*).

Making the time series plots with the R package "ggplot2" requires making special data frames. I am inclined to think that the Mathematica plotting of time series is more direct, but for this task the data wrangling codes in Mathematica and R are fairly comparable.

Generally speaking, the R package "arules" — used in this project for Associations rule learning — is somewhat awkward to use:

  • it is data frame centric, does not work directly with lists of lists, and

  • requires the use of factors.

The Apriori implementation in “arules” is much faster than the one in “AprioriAlgorithm.m” — “arules” uses a more efficient algorithm implemented in C.


[1] David Robinson, "Text analysis of Trump’s tweets confirms he writes only the (angrier) Android half", (2016), VarianceExplained.org.

[2] Anton Antonov, "Mosaic plots for data visualization", (2014), MathematicaForPrediction at WordPress.

[3] Christian Rudder, Dataclysm, Crown, 2014. ASIN: B00J1IQUX8 .

Enhancements of MosaicPlot

I made the following enhancements of the function MosaicPlot which I described (and proclaimed the implementation of) in my previous blog post:

1. Tooltips with precise contingency statistics.
2. If the last data column is numerical then MosaicPlot can use it as pre-computed contingency statistics.
3. Coloring of the rectangles according to a list of index->color rules.

The document “Mosaic plots for data visualization” hosted at MathematicaForPrediction at GitHub, combines the information of this blog post and previous one. The document also has Mathematica code examples of usage and description of MosaicPlot‘s options.

Tooltips with precise contingency statistics

I already proclaimed in my previous blog post the tooltips functionality — when hovering with the mouse over the rectangles then MosaicPlot, using Tooltip, gives a table with the exact co-occurrence (contingency) values. Here is an example:
Adult census income data sex-education-income colored mosaic plot with tooltips

Visualizing categorical columns + a numerical column

If the last data column is numerical then MosaicPlot can use it as pre-computed contingency statistics. This functionality is specified with the option “ExpandLastColumn”->True.

In order to explain the functionality we are going to use following interpretation. If the last of column of the data is numerical then we can treat the data as a contracted version of a longer list of records made only of the categorical columns. For example, consider the following table with observations of people’s hair and eyes color:
Hair and eyes color number of observations

The table above can be considered as a contracted version of this table:
Hair and eyes color observations

Setting the option “ExpandLastColumn” to True gives a mosaic plot corresponding to that latter, observations-expanded table:
Hair and eyes color mosaic plot

The last data column (which is numerical) does not need to be made of integers:
Hair and eyes color mosaic plot Mathematica code

Rectangle coloring

The rectangles can be colored using the option ColorRules which specifies how the colors of the rectangles are determined from the indices of the data columns.

More precisely, the values of the option ColorRules should be a list of rules, {i1->c1,i2->c2,…}, matching the form

{(_Integer->(_RGBColor|_GrayLevel))..} .

If coloring for only one column index is specified the value of ColorRules can be of the form

{_Integer->{(_RGBColor|_GrayLevel)..}} .

The colors are used with Blend in order to color the rectangles according to the order of the unique values of the specified data columns.

The default value for ColorRules is Automatic. When Automatic is given to ColorRules, MosaicPlot finds the data column with the largest number of unique values and colors them according to their order using ColorData[7,"ColorList"].

The grid of plots below shows mosaic plots of the same data with different values for the option ColorRules (given as plot labels).
Grid of mosaic plots for ColorRules values

Mosaic plots for data visualization


This blog post has description and examples of using the function MosaicPlot of the Mathematica package MosaicPlot.m provided by the project MathematicaForPrediction at GitHub. (Also see the document “Mosaic plots for data visualization” hosted at MathematicaForPrediction at GitHub. The document also has Mathematica code examples of usage and description of MosaicPlot‘s options.)

The function MosaicPlot summarizes the conditional probabilities of co-occurrence of the categorical values in a list of records of the same length. The list of records is assumed to be a full array and the columns to represent categorical values. (Note, that if a column is numerical but has a small number of different values it can be seen as categorical.)

I have read the descriptions of mosaic plots in the book “R in Action” by Robert Kabakoff and one of the references provided in the book (“What is a mosaic plot?” by Steve Simon). I was impressed how informative mosaic plots are and I figured they can be relatively easily implemented using Prefix trees (also known as “Tries”). I implemented MosaicPlot while working on a document analyzing the census income data from 1998, [6]. This is the reason that data set is used in this blog post. A good alternative set provided by ExampleData is {“Statistics”,”USCars1993″}.

Data set

The data set can be found and taken from http://archive.ics.uci.edu/ml/datasets/Census+Income.

The description of the data set is given in the file “adult.names” of the data folder. The data folder provides two sets with the same type of data “adult.data” and “adult.test”; the former is used for training, the latter for testing.

The total number of records in the file “adult.data” is 32561; the total number of records in the file “adult.test” is 16281.

Here is how the data looks like:
Adult census income data sample

Since I did not understand the meaning of the column “fnlwgt” I dropped it from the data.

Here is the summary table of the data:
Adult census income data summary

On the summary table the numerical variables are described with min, max, and quartiles. The category variables are described with the tallies of their values. The tallies of values are ordered in decreasing order. The tallies of truncated values are summed under the value “(Other)”.

Note that:
— only 24% of the labels are “>50K”;
— 2/3 of the records are for males;
— “capital-gain” and “capital-loss” are very skewed.

Mosaic plot explanations

If we pick a categorical variable, say “sex”, we can visualize the frequencies of the appearance of the variable values with the following plot:
Adult census income data sex mosaic plot

The size of the rectangles depends on the frequencies of appearance of the values “Male” and “Female” in the data records. From the rectangle sizes we can see what we already knew from the data summary table: approximately 2/3 of the records are about males.

We can subdivide every rectangle r according to the frequencies of co-occurrence of r’s value with the values of a second categorical variable, say “relationship”:
Adult census income data sex-relationship mosaic plot

The labels corresponding to the values of “relationship” are rotated for legibility. The “relationship” labels are placed according to the co-occurrence with the value “Male” of the variable “sex”. The correspondent fractions of the pairs (“Female”,”Husband”), (“Female”,”Not-in-family”), etc., are deduced from order of the “relationship” labels.

Using colored mosaic plots can help distinguishing which rectangles correspond to which values. Here is the last plot with rectangles colored across the “relationship” data variable:
Adult census income data sex-relationship colored mosaic plot

From the visual representations of the “sex vs. relationship” mosaic plot we can see that large fraction of the males are husbands, none (or a very small fraction) of them are wives. We can also see that none (or a very small fraction) of the females are husbands, the largest fraction of them are “Not-in-family”, and they are approximately three times more than the females that are wives.

Let us make another mosaic plot of a different kind of relationship “sex vs. education”:
Adult census income data sex-education colored mosaic plot

By comparing the sizes of the rectangles corresponding to the values “Bachelors”, “Doctorate”, “Masters”, and “Some-college” on the “sex vs. education” mosaic plot we can see that the fraction of men that have finished college is larger than the fraction of women that have finished college.

We can further subdivide the rectangles according to the co-occurrence frequencies with a third categorical variable. We are going to choose that third variable to be “income”, the values of which can be seen as outcomes or consequents of the values of the first two variables of the mosaic plot.
Adult census income data sex-education-income colored mosaic plot

From the mosaic plot “sex vs. education vs. income” we can make the following observations.
1. Approximately 75% of the males with doctorate degrees or with a professional school degree earn more than $50000 per year.
2. Approximately 60% of the females with a doctorate degree earn more than $50000 per year.
3. Approximately 45% of the females with a professional school degree earn more than $50000.
4. Across all education type females are (much) less likely to earn more than $50000 per year.

Although I mentioned earlier that the “outcome” variable should be the last variable in the mosaic plot, it is also useful to start with the outcome variable to get an attribute breakdown perspective (using a different color scheme):
Adult census income data income-relationship-sex colored mosaic plot

Signature of MosaicPlot

MosaicPlot takes various options for tweaking the labels placement and style. Here is the Mathematica command:

MosaicPlot[censusData[[All, {9, 3, 5, 14}]], "Gap" -> 0.014,
"ColumnNamesOffset" -> 0.07,
"ColumnNames" ->
Map[Style[#, Blue, FontSize -> 15] &, columnNames[[{9, 3, 5, 14}]]],
"LabelRotation" -> {{3, 1}, {1, 1}}, ImageSize -> 900]

with which the following mosaic plot was made:
Adult census income data sex-education-maritalStatus-income mosaic plot colored

The option “Gap” used to regulate the gaps between the rectangle. The options “ColumnNames” and “ColumnNamesOffset” are for the specification of the variable names (in blue in the plot). The option “LabelRotation” specifies the rotation of the labels that correspond to the individual values of the variables. Also, MosaicPlot takes all the options of Graphics (since it is based on it).

Tooltip tables

The function MosaicPlot has an interactive feature using Tooltip that gives a table with the exact co-occurrence (contingency) values when hovering with the mouse over the rectangles. Here is an example:
Adult census income data sex-education-income colored mosaic plot with tooltips

Future plans

The current implementation of MosaicPlot uses coloring of the rectangles for easier plot reading. An alternative is to use coloring based on correlations statistics. I think though that the tooltip contingency tables with flexible coloring specification make the correlation coloring less needed.