Networks that matter on Twitter: the @-Crowd

Finally I found a research paper that analyzes Twitter from a network analytical perspective. The main message of the paper “Social networks that matter: Twitter under the microscope” by Huberman, Romero and Wu (see also Jeremiah Owyang’s summary) is: the number of people you follow on Twitter is not the whole truth. It’s more interesting who you are talking to whether you are following them or not. It not a connection-based network but a performance-based network. When taking a look at your Twitter network, there are three different kinds of networks:

  • The Network: simply the network of your followers / followings. Those are the people whose updates you might be reading and who might be receiving your updates. This is the reach of your Twitter stream.
  • The FOAF-Network: the network of your followers’ / followings’ networks. Those are the people you could potentially reach via retweeting messages. This is the extended reach of your Twitter stream.
  • The @-Crowd (or the “hidden network”): the people you are talking / replying to. This is the most interesting measure, because it’s the people you are explicitely addressing. The authors of the paper call contacts you have addressed (or replied to) at least twice “friends”.
So, let’s take a closer look at the people I am talking to on Twitter (= my @-Crowd) with a small tool I just wrote. It only shows Twitter users I sent at least 2 replies - i.e. “friends” in the terminology of Huberman, Romero and Wu.
You can see from this analysis of my latest 400 tweets that I’m using the @-syntax more often than the average Twitter user (25,4%). A larger part of my twitter messages actually is a dialogue with a small number of people. In my last 1,000 tweets, for example, I did only reply to 6% of my total Twitter contacts more than once.
If you take a look at different users (just replace the user=username with your Twitter username), you see that there are different patterns of Twitter usage. Some talk with very many different people, some use the @-syntax only in a few replies and some are using Twitter as a dialogue tool.
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Comment (1)

  1. Sebastian wrote::

    So interesting, especially when I compared my @replies with the to-results. Great insight, thank you.

    Thursday, December 11, 2008 at 10:36 pm #

Trackbacks/Pingbacks (6)

  1. What I’ve Been Doing Today - 2008-12-10 - Deerwood on Thursday, December 11, 2008 at 3:43 pm

    [...] Networks that matter on Twitter: the @-Crowd :Shorty Award, twitter No comments for this entry yet… [...]

  2. < life under electronic conditions on Friday, December 12, 2008 at 6:13 pm

    [...] life under electronic conditions by benedikt koehler < Networks that matter on Twitter: the @-Crowd [...]

  3. Netzwerkvisualisierung mit TwitterFriends at viralmythen on Tuesday, December 23, 2008 at 9:30 pm

    [...] und Followers -, denn das wäre zum einen unübersichtlich groß und zum anderen wenig aussagekräftig, da man Twitterkontakte sehr viel leichter hinzufügt als entfernt. Deshalb stellt [...]

  4. [...] about Twitter Friends, the relevant net,  and the social sciences that serve as its undercurrent here and [...]

  5. [...] an attempt to measure influence while revealing relationships on Twitter, Benedikt Koehler developed Twitter Friends. Koehler’s application is by far the most compelling and valuable [...]

  6. [...] an attempt to measure influence while revealing relationships on Twitter, Benedikt Koehler developed Twitter Friends. Koehler’s application is by far the most compelling and valuable [...]