Six basic types of Twitter conversations identified

Six basic types of Twitter conversations identified

Scientists have identified six basic types of Twitter conversations and explained how they are shaped by the topic being discussed.

A new report from the Pew Research Centre, in association with the Social Media Research Foundation, provides an aerial view of the social media network, showing the Twitter conversations have distinct shapes.

By analysing many thousands of Twitter conversations, researchers identified six different conversational archetypes.

"Our infographic describes each type of conversation network and an explanation of how it is shaped by the topic being discussed and the people driving the conversation," researchers said.

The six recurring shapes are: 'Polarised crowd', 'tight crowd', 'brand clusters', 'community clusters', 'broadcast network' and 'support network'.

Conversations on Twitter create networks with identifiable contours as people reply to and mention one another in their tweets, according to the Pew research.

These conversational structures differ, depending on the subject and the people driving the conversation.

Polarised Crowd discussions feature two big and dense groups that have little connection between them. The topics being discussed are often highly divisive and heated political subjects.

In fact, there is usually little conversation between these groups despite the fact that they are focused on the same topic, researchers said.

Tight Crowd discussions are characterised by highly interconnected people with few isolated participants. Many conferences, professional topics, hobby groups, and other subjects that attract communities take this Tight Crowd form.

Brand Clusters take place when well-known products or services or popular subjects like celebrities are discussed in Twitter, there is often commentary from many disconnected participants.

Well-known brands and other popular subjects can attract large fragmented Twitter populations who tweet about it but not to each other.

Community Clusters happen as some popular topics may develop multiple smaller groups, which often form around a few hubs each with its own audience, influencers, and sources of information.

These conversations look like bazaars with multiple centres of activity.

Broadcast Network involves Twitter commentary around breaking news stories and the output of well-known media outlets and pundits has a distinctive hub and spoke structure in which many people repeat what prominent news and media organisations tweet.

Support Network conversation includes Customer complaints for a major business are often handled by a Twitter service account that attempts to resolve and manage customer issues around their products and services. 

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