"Mapping social networks on a new communication ecosystem" - Inês Amaral [University of Minho / Instituto Superior Miguel Torga] and Helena Sousa [University of Minho] Paper presented at IAMCR Conference 2010, Braga [Portugal]
Mapping social networks on a new communication ecosystem
Mapping social networks on a new
Inês Amaral – firstname.lastname@example.org (University of Minho /
Instituto Superior Miguel Torga)
Helena Sousa – email@example.com (University of Minho)
• Context: New Communication Ecosystem
• Perspective: Sociability With No Territory
• Study: Social Networks on Twitter
• Further Research
Thesis/Assumption: new sociability based on a constantly changing model of
communication that has transformed the concept of user in Consumer 2.0 and
created to the receivers the possibility of publishing for a global audience.
- BEING ONLINE > people are changing their behaviours: they work, live and
- COLLECTIVE INTELLIGENCE > the new digital environment promotes
collective action, consumers 2.0 and prosumers.
- ‘GLOCALIZATION’ > we are globalizing the local through the web.
Objective: explore the possibility of a new communication paradigm oriented to
socialization based in social web platforms and user-generated content.
Research Question: network environments (based on collective intelligence and
action) promote a new kind of citizenship and consequently sociability with
new relationships and practices?
Hypothesis: web’s collaborative potential establishes spaces for public
engagement and network participation.
Empirical Study: draw social networks on microblogging service Twitter based
Context: New Communication Ecosystem
– Dynamic model of communication: the possibility of the receiver being also
a sender and a dynamic part of the communication process .
– New ecosystem: individualization of communication (user-centred) but
maximizing the social.
– Metamorphic idea of territoriality: the concept of space is a result of the
construction of shared systems and symbolic representation of social
Cyberspace is the displacement of sociability where collective intelligence is
promoted by a new communication ecosystem.
Perspective: Sociability With No Territory
– Community and Society: updating the concepts to the new sociability with no
– Social Web: lack of territory + prosumers + new forms of aggregation of
individuals = social networks and online communities
– Web 2.0 as a ‘social amplifier’: participation, mobility and power.
Community and Society rises to 2.0.
Study Context: Twitter and Microblogging
– Microblogging: a form of blogging based on immediacy and portability. Users
publish updates (typically 140 or 200 characters) to a public timeline or to a
distributed private group of subscribers.
– Twitter: ‘Twittering’ is now a daily activity for millions of people.
– Twitter timelines: public, hashtag and user.
– Twitter conventions: tweets, retweets, reply/mention, direct messages,
hashtags, lists, profile.
– Trending Topics on Twitter: what is happening around the world.
Design of the Study: Social Networks on Twitter
– Objective: analyze a map of conversations on Twitter through different
hashtags and draw social networks based on ‘folksonomy’ in order to
understand how the web’s collaborative potential establishes spaces for public
engagement and network participation.
– Methodology: Social Network Analysis
– Data: 2 distinct data sets based on Twitter hashtags: #iranelection and
Number of users 8083 13957
Total of Tweets 12006 16072
Interactions among 5001 4094
users [@ & RT]
Results: Hashtag Networks
– Content-based networks where is possible to draw interactions through
– Two undirected graphs: a direct edge between users that establish direct conversations
(@ or RT) without regard to reciprocity.
– #iranelection has more conversation-based tweets and users more active [average 1,49
tweets per user].
– #michaeljackson’s network is mainly structured on content-tweets and users are less
active [average 1,15 tweets per user].
– Degree distribution reveals residual connectivity.
– Secondary conversations can be seen more often.
– Both networks are similar to scale free: self-organized social network where central
actors are the most active ones and have more ties with others.
– Twitter promotes a network environment simultaneously based on collective
intelligence and direct action.
– Retweets promote a new kind of social practice and, in some sense, social
– Users are connected by different bonds (share, interact, promote, express) that may
transformed the way people communicate and interact online.
Social networks have many interesting characteristics and are similar to a
complicated organism whose global structure shows an interesting
morphological structure. Therefore, and although it might be tempting to
draw final conclusions about the structure of the graphs, such arguments
may be misleading.
Further research will analyze the content of tweets published on different days (evolution of
the networks) in order to understand:
i. if the social tagging systems promote a unique social communication or this kind of
phenomena is a continuity in public communication;
ii. if web’s collaborative potential establishes spaces for a declared public engagement and
iii. if there is a new kind of citizenship and consequently sociability that result from new
social relationships and practices that we have observed.
W. I. P.
INÊS AMARAL [http://ciberesfera.com]