Parks & Recreation: How Friendship Can Bring Unlikely Audiences Together

(image via NBC)

Using Affinities™ to Highlight Audience Dimensions

Over the past three months, more than 1.65 million Tweets have been written about Parks & Recreation, the NBC sitcom that stars Amy Poehler as the lovable Leslie Knope, former Deputy Director at the Pawnee Parks Department. With a brilliant mix of characters and enough shenanigans to keep any well-meaning government employee on her toes, Parks & Recreation has gained a following across the globe.
parks and rec, geographic map
Today marks the finale of the show which has been on the air for 7 seasons. Saying goodbye has not been easy for fans or cast members as the final days of production passed and the finale loomed closer.

Much of the show’s spirit has been incorporated into the social media conversation. Tom and Donna’s “treat yo self” tradition inspired a hashtag that was tweeted over 75k times over the past three months alone. Exploring the conversation further, we see that the discussion is overwhelming positive, with plenty of fans praising the show and bemoaning its end. parks and rec, world cloud With such a colorful and dynamic cast, we have to wonder who exactly has been drawn to this iconic show and which character has inspired them to tweet about Parks & Recreation’s final season. The two main characters, Leslie Knope and Ron Swanson, don’t always see eye to eye, but the mutual respect they share for one another and good breakfast food, makes them an invincible team.


Looking back at the past 3 months, Ron Swanson conversation is made up of roughly 150k Tweets while the Leslie Knope conversation is at 100k.
Taking a closer look at both conversations, we can see that fans are praising both characters and sharing their favorite one-liners with all of their Twitter followers. The show offers fans plenty of material to fit into 140 characters.
parks and rec, ron swanson topic wheel
While great comedy attracts viewers of all kind, many have also found a favorite character to quote and discuss on social media. It appears as though the characters’ personalities and interests attract similar fans. This is especially obvious when comparing the interests of Leslie Knope and Ron Swanson fans.
parks and rec, share of voice
Leslie Knope fans share a variety of interests that would win Leslie’s approval. They are 2 times more interested in theater, Glee, and Pretty Little Liars as well as Doctor Who and Sherlock. Turning to Segment Insights, an interest in theater relates to interests in Great Britain and the sharing of plenty of multimedia.
parks and rec segments theater
Ron Swanson fans are 3 times more interested in Sportscenter and 2 times more interested in wrestling as well as the NBA, NFL, and NHL than Leslie Knope fans. Although woodcarving does not make the list, Ron would approve of his audience’s top interests as well. The most popular hashtags in the Sportscenter Segment highlight just what Swanson sports fans may be discussing.
parks and rec segments
These two friends and their audiences also have plenty of things in common. They share about the same interest in NBC, actors, and entertainment news. Interestingly, the difference in gender composition of these two audiences is not as stark as you may imagine. While Leslie’s audience is overwhelmingly female at 73%, Ron’s audience is 51% female and 49% male.
parks and rec gender breakdown, leslie knope ron swanson
In addition to contributing to the broader Parks & Recreation conversation, it appears as though this dynamic duo has brought two unique audiences together. Social media provides the perfect platform for discussing one’s favorite characters and we can analyze this data with increasingly precise listening tools. While most Parks & Recreation fans will be saddened to say goodbye to many characters, Leslie and Ron will be missed the most.
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