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Mapping a National Twittersphere: A 'Big Data' Analysis of Australian Twitter User Networks

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Paper by Axel Bruns and Tim Highfield, presented at ECREA, Lisbon, 13 Nov. 2014.

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Mapping a National Twittersphere: A 'Big Data' Analysis of Australian Twitter User Networks

  1. 1. Mapping a National Twittersphere: A ‘Big Data’ Analys is of Australian Twitter User Networks Axel Bruns, Darryl Woodford, Troy Sadkowsky, and Tim Highfield Social Media Research Group Queensland University of Technology Brisbane, Australia a.bruns / dp.woodford / t.sadkowsky / t.highfield @ qut.edu.au @snurb_dot_info / @dpwoodford / @tsadkowsky / @timhighfield
  2. 2. THE AUSTRALIAN TWITTERSPHERE • Twitter in Australia: – Strong take-up since 2009 – Centred around 25-55 age range, urban, educated, affluent users (but gradually broadening) – Significant role in crisis communication, political communication, audience engagement, … • Mapping the Twittersphere: – Long-term project to identify all Australian Twitter accounts – First iteration: snowball crawl of follower/followee networks • Starting with key hashtag populations (#auspol, #spill, …) • Map of ~1m accounts in early 2012 – Second iteration: full crawl of global Twitter ID numberspace through to Sep. 2013 (~870m accounts) • Filtering by description, location, timezone fields • Focus on identifiably Australian cities, states, timezones and other markers • 2.8 million Australian accounts identified (by Sep. 2013) • Retrieval of their follower/followee lists • Best guess of account location based on timezone, location and description settings
  3. 3. MAPPING THE AUSTRALIAN USERBASE • Mapping the Twittersphere: – Filtered to include only accounts with (followers + followees) >= 1000 • 140k accounts, 22.8m follower/followee connections within this group – Mapped using Gephi Force Atlas 2 algorithm (LinLog mode, scaling 0.0001, gravity 0.5) – Qualitative interpretation of network clusters based on high-degree nodes in each cluster – Exploration of key profile statistics (join date, number of tweets, tweeting rate) • Activity Patterns: – Data gathered on selected tweeting activities (hashtag participation, link sharing, …) – Data filtered for participating accounts included in the 140k most connected users – Data superimposed on underlying network map • Applications: – Combined analysis of network structures and tweeting activities – Evaluation of user engagement across topics – Comparative benchmarking across activities
  4. 4. GROWTH OVER TIME
  5. 5. Education Agriculture Literature Adelaide / SA Food Wine Beer Leftists Hard Right Netizens Politics Journalists Marketing Mums PR Parenting Real Estate Investing Home Business Sole Traders Self-Help HR / Support NRL Followback Urban Media Utilities Advertising Business TV Fashion Beauty Arts Cinema News TalkbackCycling Music V8s UFC AFL Football Horse Racing Cricket NRU Celebrities Hillsong Perth Pop Media Teen Idols Cody Simpson THE AUSTRALIAN TWITTERSPHERE
  6. 6. PROTECTED (~3.5%)
  7. 7. VERIFIED (~1.8%)
  8. 8. NUMBER OF TWEETS
  9. 9. ACCOUNT AGE
  10. 10. ACCOUNTS CREATED IN 2006
  11. 11. ACCOUNTS CREATED IN 2007
  12. 12. ACCOUNTS CREATED IN 2008
  13. 13. ACCOUNTS CREATED IN 2009
  14. 14. ACCOUNTS CREATED IN 2010
  15. 15. ACCOUNTS CREATED IN 2011
  16. 16. ACCOUNTS CREATED IN 2012
  17. 17. ACCOUNTS CREATED IN 2013
  18. 18. LOCATION
  19. 19. USER ENGAGEMENT PATTERNS • Datasets included: – Q&A: political talkshow, Australian Broadcasting Corporation – #qanda, qanda (3 Sep. to 7 Oct. 2014) – Big Brother: reality TV, Nine Network – #BBAU, #BBAU9, @BBAU9, #bigbrotherau (3 Sep. to 7 Oct. 2014) – AFL Grand Final: Seven Network – #AFLGF, AFL, HAWvSYD … (27 Sep. 2014, tracked since 26 Sep.) – ABC News: main public broadcaster – abc.net.au (since June 2012) – news.com.au: mainstream news site – news.com.au (since June 2012) – Daily Telegraph: tabloid newspaper – dailytelegraph.com.au (since June 2012) – The Conversation: university-supported opinion site – theconversation.edu.au/.com (since June 2012)
  20. 20. AFL GRAND FINAL
  21. 21. Q&A
  22. 22. BIG BROTHER
  23. 23. ABC NEWS
  24. 24. NEWS.COM.AU
  25. 25. DAILY TELEGRAPH
  26. 26. THE CONVERSATION
  27. 27. FUTURE DIRECTIONS • Mapping the Australian Twittersphere: – Further analysis of network structures – Identification of key accounts / roles (influencers, opinion leaders, bridging nodes, …) – Exploration of activity patterns across different clusters – Examination of structural changes over time – Exploration of network patterns beyond top users • The Twittersphere map as background information: – Footprints of specific social media practices / mainstream media entities – Reactions to specific events across different clusters – Viral dissemination of information across the network • Beyond Australia: – Maps of Norway and Germany currently in progress…
  28. 28. http://mappingonlinepublics.net/ @snurb_dot_info @dpwoodford @katieprowd @tsadkowsky @timhighfield @jeanburgess @socialmediaQUT – http://socialmedia.qut.edu.au/ This research is funded by the Australian Research Council through Future Fellowship and LIEF grants FT130100703 and LE140100148.

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