This is what Twitter traffic looks like

First off, for those wondering how I wrestled my Tableau viz into WordPress (a function that seems to have been disrupted with the latest round of updates), the solution is a bit tedious: Copy and paste the following code into WordPress and replace the elements in bold with the lines of code corresponding to your particular graph. The viz ID# and title can all be found in your embed code and shareable link.

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In January I decided to venture inside my Twitter data during a relatively quiet month to see what types of insights I could gather. Twitter enables you to export the information fairly easily, and it can then be visualized using various methods — but Tableau has always been my weapon of choice thanks to its versatility and mobile friendly output.

The average daily number of impressions I received in December was 357. The numbers peaked on December 21 when a tweet appeared on 7,961 feeds thanks to a few high profile retweets. Engagement rate is a reflection of how many times people interacted with a tweet relative to the size of its audience. It is often a more useful metric to consider because it reflects the impact and effectiveness of content.

In the above graph, engagement is indicated by the colour intensity of the blue line whereas the impression count is reflected in its height. The two metrics often don’t correlate. An influential user who “signal boosts” (i.e., retweets) your content can quickly inflate the number of impressions, but if the post only resonates with him or her, engagement will remain low. The converse is true as well.

I also observed people seem to care about where you were tweeting from, as this was a possible indicator of the relevancy of your content. During the month of December I was transitioning between jobs and moved from Toronto to Vancouver. In that time I was unfollowed by several accounts in Ontario while in subsequent weeks their absence was filled by new users from Vancouver.

For a fee, various online services will bulk follow users for you in the hopes they’ll reciprocate. When and if they don’t, the program automatically unfollows them after a few days. This option is quite popular with small businesses looking to win a social media audience relatively quickly and explains why you may sometimes find yourself followed by brands you have no affiliation with.

Best Practices

It’s widely agreed that tweeting during commute times (around 8:00 a.m. and 5:00 p.m.) is effective because people taking public transit are a captive audience often passing time on their smartphones. Another good point in the day is just after 12:00 p.m. when the office lunch crowd can surf on their devices with impunity.

These times, however, present a bit of a problem: If everyone is aggressively pushing out content at the same time, it can congest the social media ecosystem and bury your message among thousands of others. There’s an alternate school of thought that adopting a more measured approach and sharing at non-peak times is more effective because it gives you a less distracted audience and increases the likelihood your content will hit its mark.

So far, I’ve had more success with the former approach. One constant, however, is that posts with visual appeal (i.e., photos) gain the most traction. You can leverage this by enabling the Twitter card function, which will hyperlink images to your website; otherwise, visitors who are drawn to an image will click it, then simply click “back” to resume scrolling down their social feeds.

GIFs, I find, are the best way to snare someone’s attention. If there was a process to fold those into Twitter cards, you would have a perfect tool to capture people’s interest and then capitalize on it.

How much money do you need to make to buy a home in these Canadian cities?

Buying a place to call your own is a goal many Canadians have, but it’s an aspiration escaping the middle class thanks to prices that continue to soar. An average home in Vancouver will set you back almost one million dollars according to real estate marking company RentSeeker, which analyzed housing prices across the country in 2015. Their data shows that a family needs to make $120,297 a year to afford the $909,293 price tag. British Columbia is the most expensive province with an average home price of $667,480.

Toronto and Ontario aren’t far behind. The average price across the province is $471,654. In Toronto you’ll have to shell out $641,617 to buy a home, and that will require annual earnings of $87,407 according to RentSeeker. This helpful conversion tool converts annual salaries to hourly rates.

The cheapest city in Canada was Trois Rivieres, Que., the country’s oldest industrial city with a tiny population of only 48,285. The average price for a home there is only $162,313, and you need to make a meager $28,515 a year to afford it.

To afford a home in Trois Rivieres, Que., you need to make around $13.75 per hour.

The cheapest city in Ontario is Windsor, with an average home price ringing in at just under two hundred thousand dollars ($198,113). “Factors that have impacted home prices in Canada over the past decade include a strong economy, low interest rates and favourable mortgage insurance rules,” according to Priced Out, a study conducted by RBC and the Pembina Institute which examined housing trends across the country.

These factors have increased the demand for homes and driven up prices across Canada, including in the GTA.

Demand points to Vancouver and Toronto as the hottest destinations in Canada – with a high quality of life and natural beauty to boast as assets. But foreign investment is also driving up the price by eroding the supply of housing available for Canadians living in those cities. British Columbia recently introduced a 15 per cent foreign buyers tax to curb escalating costs – a move Toronto is watching closely.

READ MORE: Metro Vancouver home sales dropped 75% after foreign buyer tax announced: realtor

Average rental prices across the country echo the lows and highs of home prices, with Vancouver and Toronto once again leading the pack. A recent study by Urbanation found that the average rent for a condominium unit in Toronto was almost $2,000 a month.
“There’s virtually no vacancy in the marketplace,” said Vice President Shaun Hildebrand. A decrease in the supply of rental units is one of the factors driving up price. The trend is a troubling one for the city’s Housing Advocate, Ana Bailao. “You lose the opportunity to attract a lot of investment that wants to come to our city,” she said.

Companies start looking at our city as a place that’s too expensive for their workers to work, too expensive to attract human capital.

Taking a closer look at Toronto, property management company Sky View Suites compiled data on the average sale price of homes near TTC subway stations. The analysis took into account values of detached homes and condominiums with three or more bedrooms from June 2015 to June 2016.

Homes near York Mills, Castle Frank and Summerhill stations had the highest values, while those near Warden, Kennedy and Victoria Park stations – all in the city’s east end – had the lowest. Generally speaking, proximity to transit hubs is known to have a positive impact on property values.

Lead contamination in Toronto’s tap water

Researchers have extensively studied the toxic metal and linked it to a range of adverse health effects, especially in children and infants where “the physical and behavioral effects of lead occur at lower exposure levels,” according to the Environmental Protection Agency. Within this vulnerable population exposure has been connected to learning disabilities, slowed growth, behavioural problems and anemia.

Data retrieved from testing samples shows that only one region of the city has lead concentrations exceeding the maximum acceptable limit set by the Ministry of Environment. That threshold is 10 parts per billion (ppb), and the average reading from the Danforth area was nearly double: 19.4 ppb. 28 samples were analyzed from the region bounded by Don Mills Road and the GO rail tracks to the north and south, and Pape and Coxwell Avenues to the west and east.

Water Concentration

Prior to the mid-1950s, water pipes servicing homes were typically made of the soft metal. It was also used to solder pipes together before 1990. In 2011 Toronto’s city council approved the Lead in Drinking Water Mitigation Strategy aimed at lowering exposure levels for residents.

It’s important to note that the city’s lead testing program is non-regulated, and staff have little control over how or where a sample is obtained. Testing kits can be picked up and dropped off by residents, free of charge, at one of six Toronto Public Health locations across the city.