Who Says What to Whom on Twitter?

Shortly after the birthday candles were blown out on Twitter’s 5th birthday, a study was conducted by Yahoo Research entitled “Who Says What to Whom on Twitter,” analyzing the impact a select few opinion leaders are having on the social network.

The groundwork of the study involves breaking down Twitter users into two groups; the elite users made up of celebrities (Justin Bieber, Britney Spears and Lady Gaga are among some of the top followed users on twitter), the media, corporations and bloggers. Then there’s the other 96% of the population which gets shamelessly swept under the rug and branded as the ordinary users.

According to the study this small group of elite users which make up a mere 5% of the Twitter population develop the content accounting for approximately 50% of the billions of tweets sent out weekly.

The conducted study which can be found here is full of charts, mathematical equations, graphs and data to analyze how the transfer of information from these elite users infiltrate the channels of ordinary users. To save you the time of reading the study we can jump through all the number crunching and data translation and land upon two underwhelming conclusions which the study came up with.

  1. “Communications on Twitter may be unrepresentative of information flow via more traditional channels, such as TV and radio on the one hand, and interpersonal interactions on the other hand.”

People use twitter as an alternative to traditional channels in order to quickly and easily access the information they’re interested in. It is a way to avoid all the clutter of network television or radio to track and expose yourself to the information which you find relevant. Twitter and digital media are different from traditional media channels, and that’s the beauty of it.

On the other hand Twitter is unrepresentative of interpersonal interactions. Sounds obvious, but surprisingly this may be news to some. It isn’t uncommon to find people misplacing interpersonal interactions while at a bar, on a date or at a sporting event, and instead being completely engulfed by their Smartphone’s latest Twitter feed. So thank you for pointing out that yes, there is a difference between your Twitter feed and a face to face with an actual person.

  1. “Twitter may be becoming an information source rather then a social network”

Social Network vs. Information Source – Is it not possible for these two name tags to live in harmony?! The beauty of this platform is that it provides an opportunity for each user to develop and use their social network to gather information. Enough said.

This research seems to use a lot of technical jargon to sum up for the most part what we already knew. For decades these elite users have had an impact on society through the broadcast of information. Twitter is simply a new media channel to do so but allows it to be an opt-in tool leaving it at your discretion as to whom or what you engage, interact or gather your information from.

So what do you think? Are the majority of our tweets influenced by these elite users? Is Twitter now an information source? Does it remain a social network? Or is it some happy medium of the two?

Shortly after the birthday candles were blown out on Twitter’s 5th birthday, a study was conducted by Yahoo Research entitled “Who Says What to Whom on Twitter,” analyzing the impact a select few opinion leaders are having on the social network.

The groundwork of the study involves breaking down Twitter users into two groups; the elite users made up of celebrities (Justin Bieber, Britney Spears and Lady Gaga are among some of the top followed users on twitter), the media, corporations and bloggers. Then there’s the other 96% of the population which gets shamelessly swept under the rug and branded as the ordinary users.

According to the study this small group of elite users which make up a mere 5% of the Twitter population develop the content accounting for approximately 50% of the billions of tweets sent out weekly.

The conducted study which can be found here is full of charts, mathematical equations, graphs and data to analyze how the transfer of information from these elite users infiltrate the channels of ordinary users. To save you the time of reading the study we can jump through all the number crunching and data translation and land upon two underwhelming conclusions which the study came up with.

  1. “Communications on Twitter may be unrepresentative of information flow via more traditional channels, such as TV and radio on the one hand, and interpersonal interactions on the other hand.”

People use twitter as an alternative to traditional channels in order to quickly and easily access the information they’re interested in. It is a way to avoid all the clutter of network television or radio to track and expose yourself to the information which you find relevant. Twitter and digital media are different from traditional media channels, and that’s the beauty of it.

On the other hand Twitter is unrepresentative of interpersonal interactions. Sounds obvious, but surprisingly this may be news to some. It isn’t uncommon to find people misplacing interpersonal interactions while at a bar, on a date or at a sporting event, and instead being completely engulfed by their Smartphone’s latest Twitter feed. So thank you for pointing out that yes, there is a difference between your Twitter feed and a face to face with an actual person.

  1. Twitter may be becoming an information source rather then a social network

Social Network vs. Information Source – Is it not possible for these two nametags to live in harmony?! The beauty of this platform is that it provides an opportunity for each user to develop and use their social network to gather information. Enough said.

This research seems to use a lot of technical jargon to sum up for the most part what we already knew. For decades these elite users have had an impact on society through the broadcast of information. Twitter is simply a new media channel to do so but allows it to be an opt-in tool leaving it at your discretion as to whom or what you engage, interact or gather your information from.

So what do you think? Are our tweets majority influenced by these elite users? Is Twitter now an information source? Does it remain a social network? Or is it some happy medium of the two?

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