Questions To Revisit
In my last post, I asked myself whether a network visualisation of my Facebook friends can actually reflect the social links in my analog life. I came to the conclusion that similar social groups can be found in my digital as well as in my physical world. The networks depicted different sociodemographic information, such as country of origin and the gender dispersion which might be comparable. However, Facebook cannot reflect my true social circles
In this post, I wanted to know who my Twitter Followers actually are and whether one can determine who is the most important follower. Maybe I should clarify “most important”. Obviously, there are different ways of determining who is “most important”. Depending on what data/criteria you are interested in, the most important Twitter follower could be the one with the highest number of followers he or she has because that is his/her potential audience (e.g. distribtion potential). That is not the only thing to look at, though. The most important twitter follower could also be determined by coming from a very specific region or country (e.g. as a source), speaking a specific langauge (e.g. as a target mediator) or the fact that he/she is a verified Twitter user (e.g. reliability, valid source, etc.). I could name a dozen more ways of defining who is important but let’s just stick to a few obvious factors. I took four different factors into consideration: Language, Country, Number of Followers and Location.
Twitter On A Map, Map, Map
The following data is anonymized but presents some interesting patterns I would like to discuss here. On this map you can see my own followers on Twitter and where they come from, according to their own specifications on Twitter. I scraped the information via the Twitter API. Once you click on one of the icons, you will find the information I was looking for (Language, Country, Number of Followers and Location). If the icon is green, the follower has less than 500 followers, yellow icons mean the followers have between 500 and 1000 followers and red followers represent Twitter users with more than 1000 followers each.
Looking at the data, this first factor – number of followers – could be one way of determining who is important in my Twitter network.
What language do they speak?
However, you could also focus on language.
Where do they come from?
In addition to that, important Twitter followers can be defined by where they come from. So, let’s say I would like to do some research on topics regarding the USA. Obviously, I would want people from the region telling me what’s going on. Consequently, the country of origin might be the most important factor.
Unfortunately, a lot of Twitter users seem to not clarify where they come from – for whatever reason. This is what I found out about my Twitter followers: 104 of 470 followers did not specify where they came from. Furthermore, there were a lot of followers who picked “world” or “Interwebs” as their location which means that I am not able to track it via API. What I do see is that most of my Twitter followers seem to come from Berlin, Bonn, Hamburg, London, etc.
The last thing I checked was whether my followers where verified users by Twitter.
I guess there are many ways of defining who is who in your Twitter Network. Let’s not just focus on how many people are following you. Let’s look at who is who, where do they come from, what impact do they have and what criteria you would like to focues on when determining their “value”.