Skip Bayless, a Twitter Analysis


If you’ve consumed any ESPN content over the past few years, you’ve undoubtedly encountered Skip Bayless of ESPN’s First Take debate show. He’s stubbornly opinionated and frequently gets under the skin of co-debaters and viewers alike which, like him or not, is exactly what he’s being payed to do. Combining the number of eyeballs that First Take draws with the high number of Twitter followers @realskipbayless has (just under 600k), Skip has essentially become the world’s most famous, most visible troll. Anyone who has seen the show a few times or read his tweets knows that there are a few individuals that he has a stalker like obsession with, primarily Tim Tebow and LeBron James. He’s become quite predictable over time and knowing how he will respond to certain events is basically common knowledge (Tebow = good, LeBron = bad, etc).

I wanted to find a way quantify Skip’s obsession with certain players, teams, and even words. Keeping track of all of the First Take topics would be a next to impossible task so I turned my attention to Twitter. Going back as far as I could on Twitter, I put every single Skip tweet from September 10, 2011 to April 18, 2012 into a word cloud generator to see what topics stood out. During this time period, Skip tweeted over 3,200 times which equals around 15 tweets per day. The following image takes the most frequent words tweeted and arranges them by size; the more the word was tweeted, the bigger the word. The word cloud generator automatically removes some of the more common English words (such as and, if, or, etc) but I did not remove any additional words myself and the results…well, the picture says it all.

skipismsI knew that Skip was probably close to getting served with a restraining order from Tim Tebow, but this picture really drives the point home. I put all of these tweets into a Word document to get a word count on his tweets. The five most common words in the English language are: the, of, and, a, to. Here’s the word counts: the (943), of (636), and (607), a (687), to (1712). Skip Bayless has tweeted “Tebow” 698 times during that time period which is more than three of the most common words in our language.  LeBron comes in a distant second at 254 with Stephen (A Smith) and ESP2 not far behind. In order to reduce the clutter a bit, I removed several of the common words that showed up above that the filter missed and tried to leave mainly individual and team names along with a few other buzz words.  Yes, “clutch” does in fact make an appearance.


The moral of the story? I’m not sure there really is one but this is one more reason why I just can’t take anything Skip Bayless says seriously.

Pat Lussenhop - Pat was born and raised in rural Minnesota and is currently living in Cedar Rapids, Iowa. He graduated from St. John's University (MN) with a degree in psychology and went on to get his masters in school psychology at the University of Northern Iowa. He's a lifetime sports fan and follows basketball and football the most. His favorite teams include any team that has "Minnesota" in it's name and he enjoys sports statistics and any good sporting debates. - Follow him on Twitter here

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2 thoughts on “Skip Bayless, a Twitter Analysis

  1. You can’t take anything Skip Bayless says seriously because of which topics he likes to tweet about?  You’re a psychologist, he’s a journalist.  You mean to say that his 30+ years covering sports has somehow left him with zero credit because he over-uses the word “Tebow” ?

  2. The post is meant with some sarcasm and saying I can’t take “anything he says seriously” is not literally true. That being said, he essentially plays a character on TV whose role is argue about any and every topic to boost ratings for ESPN…and he’s become more TV personality than journalist and gets paid for reacting to dozens of topics every day.

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