Also this week, the article “Who are my Audiences? A Study of the Evolution of Target Audiences in Microblogs” by my colleagues Ruth García-Gavilanes, Andreas Kaltenbrunner, Diego Sáez-Trumper, Ricardo Baeza-Yates, David Laniado and me will be presented in the 6th International Conference on Social Informatics (SocInfo 2014).
In this paper, we study the evolution of Twitter users across groups between 2011 and 2013 (see the Sankey diagram in the next figure). Our findings indicate that user behaviour is evolving from conversational purposes to an increasing interest in using this microblogging service for sharing URLs. The results could bring a final answer to the question asked some years ago by Kwak, Lee, Park and Moon: “What is Twitter, a social network or a news media?”
User behavior in online social media is not static, it evolves through the years. In Twitter, we have witnessed a maturation of its platform and its users due to endogenous and exogenous reasons. While the research using Twitter data has expanded rapidly, little work has studied the change/evolution in the Twitter ecosystem itself. In this paper, we use a taxonomy of the types of tweets posted by around 4M users during 10 weeks in 2011 and 2013. We classify users according to their tweeting behavior, and find 5 clusters for which we can associate a different dominant tweeting type. Furthermore, we observe the evolution of users across groups between 2011 and 2013 and find interesting insights such as the decrease in conversations and increase in URLs sharing. Our findings suggest that mature users evolve to adopt Twitter as a news media rather than a social network.