What is Twitter, a social network or a news media?

Haewoon Kwak, Changhyun Lee, Hosung Park, Sue Moon

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution

3615 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Twitter, a microblogging service less than three years old, commands more than 41 million users as of July 2009 and is growing fast. Twitter users tweet about any topic within the 140-character limit and follow others to receive their tweets. The goal of this paper is to study the topological characteristics of Twitter and its power as a new medium of information sharing. We have crawled the entire Twitter site and obtained 41.7 million user profiles, 1.47 billion social relations, 4,262 trending topics, and 106 million tweets. In its follower-following topology analysis we have found a non-power-law follower distribution, a short effective diameter, and low reciprocity, which all mark a deviation from known characteristics of human social networks [28]. In order to identify influentials on Twitter, we have ranked users by the number of followers and by PageRank and found two rankings to be similar. Ranking by retweets differs from the previous two rankings, indicating a gap in influence inferred from the number of followers and that from the popularity of one's tweets. We have analyzed the tweets of top trending topics and reported on their temporal behavior and user participation. We have classified the trending topics based on the active period and the tweets and show that the majority (over 85%) of topics are headline news or persistent news in nature. A closer look at retweets reveals that any retweeted tweet is to reach an average of 1,000 users no matter what the number of followers is of the original tweet. Once retweeted, a tweet gets retweeted almost instantly on next hops, signifying fast diffusion of information after the 1st retweet. To the best of our knowledge this work is the first quantitative study on the entire Twittersphere and information diffusion on it.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationProceedings of the 19th International Conference on World Wide Web, WWW '10
Pages591-600
Number of pages10
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 20 Jul 2010
Externally publishedYes
Event19th International World Wide Web Conference, WWW2010 - Raleigh, NC, United States
Duration: 26 Apr 201030 Apr 2010

Other

Other19th International World Wide Web Conference, WWW2010
CountryUnited States
CityRaleigh, NC
Period26/4/1030/4/10

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Topology

Keywords

  • degree of separation
  • homophily
  • influential
  • information diffusion
  • online social network
  • pagerank
  • reciprocity
  • retweet
  • Twitter

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Computer Networks and Communications
  • Computer Science Applications

Cite this

Kwak, H., Lee, C., Park, H., & Moon, S. (2010). What is Twitter, a social network or a news media? In Proceedings of the 19th International Conference on World Wide Web, WWW '10 (pp. 591-600) https://doi.org/10.1145/1772690.1772751

What is Twitter, a social network or a news media? / Kwak, Haewoon; Lee, Changhyun; Park, Hosung; Moon, Sue.

Proceedings of the 19th International Conference on World Wide Web, WWW '10. 2010. p. 591-600.

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution

Kwak, H, Lee, C, Park, H & Moon, S 2010, What is Twitter, a social network or a news media? in Proceedings of the 19th International Conference on World Wide Web, WWW '10. pp. 591-600, 19th International World Wide Web Conference, WWW2010, Raleigh, NC, United States, 26/4/10. https://doi.org/10.1145/1772690.1772751
Kwak H, Lee C, Park H, Moon S. What is Twitter, a social network or a news media? In Proceedings of the 19th International Conference on World Wide Web, WWW '10. 2010. p. 591-600 https://doi.org/10.1145/1772690.1772751
Kwak, Haewoon ; Lee, Changhyun ; Park, Hosung ; Moon, Sue. / What is Twitter, a social network or a news media?. Proceedings of the 19th International Conference on World Wide Web, WWW '10. 2010. pp. 591-600
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