After studying tens of thousands of Twitter conversations, researchers discover only six types of tweeters exist! #thetwitterproject
The study analyzed Twitter conversations over the past four years to reveal a “topographical map” of these patterns—each showing identifiable contours—based on the topic being discussed, the information and influences driving the conversation and the social network structures of the participants.
Researchers are quick to note that not everyone uses Twitter — only 14 percent of the U.S. population. Still, looking at how conversations flow on social media can provide new insights into how people communicate in a way that was not possible until very recently.
Which of the 6 are you?
Polarized crowds, people who often form around political topics. These type communicate very little with other opposing viewpoints.
Brand Clusters, people who talk about well-known brands on Twitter tend to be disconnected from one another, focusing only on the topic at hand and not really interacting with each other. One graph, that looked at mentions of Apple, found that users didn’t follow, reply to or mention any other person who also tweeted about the company.
Tight Crowds Networking, share similar knowledge and passions. People who tweet from a social media conference, or about another highly specialized topic tend to form tight crowds of people who are connected to one another as followers. There are only a few users who are not connected to at least a few others in the group. This crowd uses the most #hashtags.
Community clusters happen when several, evenly sized Twitter groups are connected to each other. In a sense, these can be compared ‘‘to people clustering in different stalls at a bazaar.’’ The conversations in this group share a common broader topic, whether that’s Michelle Obama or a tech conference, but each cluster takes a different focus.
Broadcast networks, often media outlets or prominent social media figures with a lot of followers who repeat the messages such outlets send out.
Support Network, these conversations usually involve a large company, such as a bank or airline, that listens and replies to consumer complaints. When mapped, the interactions in these groups tend to look like a bicycle wheel hub with many spokes.
“This new field is emerging right before our eyes,” Shneiderman says. “It could eventually have a large impact on our understanding of everything from health to community safety, from business innovation to citizen science, and from civic engagement to sustainable energy programs.”