Who Tweets About Technology?: Investigating the Role of Twitter in the Diffusion of Technological Information

Who Tweets About Technology?: Investigating the Role of Twitter in the Diffusion of Technological Information

István Márton Kiss (University of Szeged, Szeged, Hungary) and Norbert Buzás (University of Szeged, Szeged, Hungary)
Copyright: © 2015 |Pages: 14
DOI: 10.4018/ijkss.2015010104

Abstract

Due to the growing importance and influence of social media, it is timely to gain knowledge about the communication related to technological innovations in the cyberspace. The main goal of the present article is to shed light on the process and structure of information sharing about technologies on Twitter. It identifies the most relevant clusters of actors in the communication, and investigates the network structures existing among them in the case of two novel operation systems. The authors found disparate network properties from other topics, unexpectedly robust networks, unbalanced activity and centrality distribution of the users, and a useful strategy to increase efficiency of the communication in the system.
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Many studies have already investigated the role of Twitter in many situations. To begin with, Kwak et al (2010) measured the main properties of the whole Twitter communication finding short effective diameter, low follower-friend reciprocity and very popular users mostly celebrities and news media. Saifudin et al (2013), on the other hand, investigated the protest against the Delhi gang rape and found that online protest leaders on Twitter were the offline protest leaders as well, and these users were far the most central and most active figures of the communication network. Furthermore, Chang and Evans (2009) showed that a very little proportion of the users leads the communication on Twitter by tweeting enormously huge amount of messages. Morales et al (2014) investigated a Venezuelan political protest where the follower distribution of the users presented power law behaviour and the users with the highest degree distribution were celebrities, politicians or bloggers. They also reported that while most of the users behave passively, there were a few but very active information provider hubs (Morales et al, 2012; Morales et al, 2014). Trending topics were also investigated by Cha et al (2010) and, they revealed that the size of the audience (i.e. the number of followers) represents popularity of the users, whereas the number of retweets depends on the content value of the tweets and the mentions on the name value of the users. In summary, the previous studies showed that Twitter communication is very unbalanced in the sense of tweeting activity and user connections as well. The mentioned studies investigated trending topics and protests where the relevant time horizon was typically a few months or weeks long. The most important users were very often offline opinion leaders, celebrities and news channels. What we are curious about is whether the Twitter works very similarly in the case of information dissemination about technologies or shows unique features.

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