Comparing Influencers: Activity vs. Connectivity Measures in Defining Key Actors in Twitter Ad Hoc Discussions on Migrants in Germany and Russia

  • Svetlana S. Bodrunova
  • Anna A. Litvinenko
  • Ivan S. Blekanov
Conference paper
Part of the Lecture Notes in Computer Science book series (LNCS, volume 10539)

Abstract

Today, a range of research approaches is used to define the so-called influencers in discussions in social media, and one can trace both conceptual and methodological differences in how influencers are defined and tracked. We distinguish between ‘marketing’ and ‘deliberative’ conceptualization of influencers and between metrics based on absolute figures and those from social network analytics; combining them leads to better understanding of user activity and connectivity measures in defining influential users. We add to the existing research by asking whether user activity necessarily leads to better connectivity and by what metrics in online ad hoc discussions, and try to compare the structure of influencers. To do this, we use comparable outbursts of discussions on inter-ethnic conflicts related to immigration. We collect Twitter data on violent conflicts between host and re-settled groups in Russia and Germany and look at top20 user lists by eight parameters of activity and connectivity to assess the structure of influencers in terms of pro/contra-migrant cleavages and institutional belonging. Our results show that, in both discussions, the number of users involved matters most for becoming an influencer by betweenness and pagerank centralities. Also, contrary to expectations, Russian top users all in all are, in general, more neutral, while Germans are more divided, but in both countries pro-migrant media oppose anti-migrant informal leaders.

Keywords

Twitter Influencers Inter-ethnic conflict Germany Russia Web crawling 

References

  1. 1.
    Nieminen, H.: Hegemony and the public sphere: essays on the democratisation of Communication. Department of Media Studies, School of Art, Literature and Music, University of Turku (2000)Google Scholar
  2. 2.
    Scheufele, D.A., Tewksbury, D.: Framing, agenda setting, and priming: the evolution of three media effects models. J. Commun. 57(1), 9–20 (2007)Google Scholar
  3. 3.
    White, C.S.: Citizen participation and the internet: prospects for civic deliberation in the information age. Soc. Stud. 88(1), 23–28 (1997)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. 4.
    White, D.M.: The gate keeper: a case study in the selection of news. Journal. Mass Commun. Q. 27(4), 383 (1950)MathSciNetGoogle Scholar
  5. 5.
    Fuchs, C.: Social Media: A Critical Introduction. Sage, London (2013)Google Scholar
  6. 6.
    Chadwick, A.: The Hybrid Media System: Politics and Power. Oxford University Press, Oxford (2013)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. 7.
    Patterson, K., Grenny, J., et al.: Influencer: The Power to Change Anything. Tata McGraw-Hill Education, London (2007)Google Scholar
  8. 8.
    Rogers, E.M.: Diffusion of Innovations, 4th edn. Free Press, New York (2010)Google Scholar
  9. 9.
    Wallsten, K.: Political blogs and the bloggers who blog them: is the political blogosphere and echo chamber. In: American Political Science Association’s Annual Meeting, Washington, DC, pp. 1–4 (2005)Google Scholar
  10. 10.
    Castells, M.: Communication, power and counter-power in the network society. Int. J. Commun. 1(1), 238–266 (2007)Google Scholar
  11. 11.
    Bakshy, E., Rosenn, I., Marlow, C., Adamic, L.: The role of social networks in information diffusion. In: Proceedings of the 21st International Conference on World Wide Web, pp. 519–528. ACM (2012)Google Scholar
  12. 12.
    Habermas, J.: Political communication in media society: does democracy still enjoy an epistemic dimension? The impact of normative theory on empirical research. Commun. Theory 16(4), 411–426 (2006)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. 13.
    Dahlgren, P.: Media and Political Engagement: Citizens, Communication, and Democracy. Cambridge University Press, Cambridge (2009)Google Scholar
  14. 14.
    Bruns, A., Burgess, J.E.: The use of Twitter hashtags in the formation of ad hoc publics. In: Proceedings of the 6th European Consortium for Political Research (ECPR) General Conference 2011 (2011)Google Scholar
  15. 15.
    Papacharissi, Z.A.: Affective Publics. Oxford University Press, Oxford (2015)Google Scholar
  16. 16.
    Bruns, A., Highfield, T.: Is Habermas on Twitter? Social media and the public sphere. In: Christensen, C., Bruns, A., Enli, G., Skogerbo, E., Larsson, A. (eds.) The Routledge Companion to Social Media and Politics, pp. 56–73. Routledge, London (2016)Google Scholar
  17. 17.
    Bodrunova, S.S., Litvinenko, A.A., Blekanov, I.S.: Influencers on the Russian Twitter: institutions vs. people in the discussion on migrants. In: ACM International Conference Proceeding Series, 22–23 November 2016, pp. 212–222 (2016)Google Scholar
  18. 18.
    Hladík, R., Štětka, V.: The powers that tweet: social media as news sources in the Czech Republic. Journal. Stud. 1, 1–21 (2015)Google Scholar
  19. 19.
    McCombs, M.E., Shaw, D.L.: The agenda-setting function of mass media. Public Opin. Q. 36(2), 176–187 (1972)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. 20.
    McCombs, M.: A look at agenda-setting: past, present and future. Journal. Stud. 6(4), 543–557 (2005)Google Scholar
  21. 21.
    Fraser, N.: Rethinking the public sphere: a contribution to the critique of actually existing democracy. Soc. Text 25/26, 56–80 (1990)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. 22.
    Laclau, E., Mouffe, C.: Hegemony and Socialist Strategy: Towards a Radical Democratic Politics. Verso, London (2001)Google Scholar
  23. 23.
    Fenton, N., Downey, J.: Counter public spheres and global modernity. Javnost - Public 10(1), 15–32 (2003)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. 24.
    Dahlberg, L.: The internet, deliberative democracy, and power: radicalizing the public sphere. Int. J. Media Cult. Politics 3(1), 47–64 (2007)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. 25.
    Nakamura, L.: Cybertypes: Race, Ethnicity, and Identity on the Internet. Routledge, London (2013)Google Scholar
  26. 26.
    Daniels, J.: Race and racism in internet studies: a review and critique. New Media Soc. 15(5), 695–719 (2013)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. 27.
    Pfetsch, B., Adam, S.: Media agenda building in online and offline media–comparing issues and countries. In: Proceedings of the 6th ECPR General Conference, Reykjavik, Iceland, pp. 25–27 (2011)Google Scholar
  28. 28.
    Bodrunova, S., Litvinenko, A.: Fragmentation of society and media hybridisation in today? Russia: how Facebook voices collective demands. Zhurnal Issledovanii Sotsial’noi Politiki 14(1), 113–124 (2016)Google Scholar
  29. 29.
    Norris, P.: Digital Divide: Civic Engagement, Information Poverty, and the Internet Worldwide. Cambridge University Press, Cambridge (2001)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  30. 30.
    Van Deursen, A.J., Van Dijk, J.A.: The digital divide shifts to differences in usage. New Media Soc. 16(3), 507–526 (2014)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  31. 31.
    Murthy, D.: Twitter: Social communication in the Twitter age. Wiley, London (2013)Google Scholar
  32. 32.
    Dubois, E., Gaffney, D.: The multiple facets of influence identifying political influentials and opinion leaders on Twitter. Am. Behav. Sci. 58(10), 1260–1277 (2014)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  33. 33.
    Aquino, J.: Boost brand advocates and social media influencers. CRM Mag. 17(1), 30–34 (2013)Google Scholar
  34. 34.
    Papacharissi, Z.A.: A Private Sphere: Democracy in a Digital Age. Polity, London (2010)Google Scholar
  35. 35.
    Calhoun, C.: Introduction: Habermas and the public sphere. In: Calhoun, C. (ed.) Habermas and the public sphere, pp. 1–50. MIT Press, Cambridge (1992)Google Scholar
  36. 36.
    Katz, E.: The two-step flow of communication: an up-to-date report on an hypothesis. Public Opin. Q. 21(1), 61–78 (1957)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  37. 37.
    Hartley, J., Green, J.: The public sphere on the beach. Eur. J. Cult. Stud. 9(3), 341–362 (2006)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  38. 38.
    Morozov, E.: The brave new world of slacktivism. Foreign Policy 19(05) (2009). http://foreignpolicy.com/2009/05/19/the-brave-new-world-of-slacktivism/
  39. 39.
    Broersma, M., Graham, T.: Social media as beat: tweets as a news source during the 2010 British and Dutch elections. Journal. Pract. 6(3), 403–419 (2012)Google Scholar
  40. 40.
    Lindgren, S., Lundström, R.: Pirate culture and hacktivist mobilization: the cultural and social protocols of# WikiLeaks on Twitter. New Media Soc. 13(6), 999–1018 (2011)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  41. 41.
    Koltsova, O., Koltcov, S.: Mapping the public agenda with topic modeling: the case of the Russian Livejournal. Policy Internet 5(2), 207–227 (2013)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  42. 42.
    Bruns, A., Burgess, J.E., Crawford, K., Shaw, F.: #qldfloods and @QPSMedia: Crisis Communication on Twitter in the 2011 South East Queensland Floods. Centre of Excellence for Creative Industries and Innovation. ARC, Brisbane (2012)Google Scholar
  43. 43.
    Bastos, M.T., Raimundo, R.L.G., Travitzki, R.: Gatekeeping Twitter: message diffusion in political hashtags. Media Cult. Soc. 35(2), 260–270 (2013)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  44. 44.
    Bruns, A.: Gatewatching: Collaborative Online News Production. Peter Lang, London (2005)Google Scholar
  45. 45.
    Bodrunova, S.S., Blekanov, I.S., Maksimov, A.: Measuring influencers in Twitter ad-hoc discussions: active users vs. internal networks in the discourse on Biryuliovo bashings in 2013. In: Proceedings of the AINL FRUCT 2016 Conference, item #7891853 (2017). Authors (2016-2)Google Scholar
  46. 46.
    Almind, T.C., Ingwersen, P.: Informetric analyses on the World Wide Web: methodological approaches to ‘webometrics’. J. Doc. 53(4), 404–426 (1997)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  47. 47.
    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, pp. 591–600. ACM (2010)Google Scholar
  48. 48.
    González-Bailón, S., Borge-Holthoefer, J., Moreno, Y.: Broadcasters and hidden influentials in online protest diffusion. Am. Behav. Sci. 57(7), 943–965 (2013). doi:10.1177/0002764213479371 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  49. 49.
    Maireder, A., Weeks, B.E., de Zúñiga, H.G., Schlögl, S.: Big data and political social networks introducing audience diversity and communication connector bridging measures in social network theory. Soc. Sci. Comput. Rev. (2015). doi:10.1177/0894439315617262
  50. 50.
    Hilbert, M., Vásquez, J., Halpern, D., Valenzuela, S., Arriagada, E.: One step, two step, network step? Complementary perspectives on communication flows in Twittered citizen protests. Soc. Sci. Comput. Rev. (2016). doi:10.1177/0894439316639561
  51. 51.
    Jungherr, A.: Twitter as political communication space: publics, prominent users, and politicians. In: Jungherr, A. (ed.) Analyzing Political Communication with Digital Trace Data. CPS, pp. 69–106. Springer, Cham (2015). doi:10.1007/978-3-319-20319-5_4 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  52. 52.
    Adam, S.: Medieninhalte aus der Netzwerkperspektive. Publizistik 53(2), 180–199 (2008)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  53. 53.
    Wu, S., Hofman, J.M., Mason, W.A., Watts, D.J.: Who says what to whom on Twitter. In: Proceedings of the 20th International Conference on World Wide Web, pp. 705–714. ACM (2011)Google Scholar
  54. 54.
    Vaccari, C., Valeriani, A., Barberá, P., Bonneau, R., Jost, J.T., Nagler, J., Tucker, J.: Social media and political communication: a survey of Twitter users during the 2013 Italian general election. Rivista italiana di scienza politica 43(3), 381–410 (2013)Google Scholar
  55. 55.
    Jungherr, A., Juergens, P.: Through a glass, darkly tactical support and symbolic association in Twitter messages commenting on stuttgart 21. Soc. Sci. Comput. Rev. 32(1), 74–89 (2014)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  56. 56.
    Fox, S., Zickuhr, K., Smith, A.: Twitter and status updating, fall 2009. Pew Internet Am. Life Proj. 21 (2009)Google Scholar
  57. 57.
    Page, R.: The linguistics of self-branding and micro-celebrity in Twitter: the role of hashtags Discourse. Communication 6(2), 181–201 (2012)Google Scholar
  58. 58.
    Vis, F.: Twitter as a reporting tool for breaking news: journalists tweeting the 2011 UK riots. Digit. Journal. 1(1), 27–47 (2013)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  59. 59.
    Bruns, A.: Social media and journalism during times of crisis. In: Hunsinger, J., Senft, T. (eds.) The Social Media Handbook, pp. 159–175. Routledge, London (2014)Google Scholar
  60. 60.
    Lotan, G., Graeff, E., Ananny, M., Gaffney, D., Pearce, I.: The arab spring: the revolutions were tweeted: information flows during the 2011 Tunisian and Egyptian revolutions. Int. J. Commun. 5, 31 (2011)Google Scholar
  61. 61.
    Gruzd, A., Roy, J.: Investigating political polarization on Twitter: a Canadian perspective. Policy Internet 6(1), 28–45 (2014)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  62. 62.
    Xu, W.W., Sang, Y., Blasiola, S., Park, H.W.: Predicting opinion leaders in twitter activism networks the case of the Wisconsin recall election. Am. Behav. Sci. (2014). doi:10.1177/0002764214527091
  63. 63.
    Kissane, D.: How many Twitter users are there in Germany? Quoracom, 27 January 2016. https://www.quora.com/How-many-Twitter-users-are-in-Germany. Accessed 01 Feb 2017
  64. 64.
    Tumasjan, A., Sprenger, T.O., Sandner, P.G., Welpe, I.M.: Election forecasts with Twitter: how 140 characters reflect the political landscape. Soc. Sci. Comput. Rev. (2010). doi:10.1177/0894439310386557
  65. 65.
    Hallin, D.C., Mancini, P.: Comparing Media Systems: Three Models of Media and Politics. Cambridge University Press, Cambridge (2004)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  66. 66.
    Dearden, L.: Cologne attacks: support for refugees in Germany falling amid far-right protests and vigilante attacks. The Independent, 13 January 2016. http://www.independentcouk/news/world/europe/cologne-attacks-support-for-refugees-in-germany-plummeting-amid-far-right-protests-and-vigilante-a6808616html. Accessed 01 Feb 2017
  67. 67.
    Vartanova, E.L.: Post-Soviet Transformations of Media and Journalism. MediaMir, Moscow (2013)Google Scholar
  68. 68.
    Bodrunova, S.S., Litvinenko, A.A.: New media and political protest: the formation of a public counter-sphere in Russia, 2008–12. In: Russia’s Changing Economic and Political Regimes: The Putin Years and Afterwards, pp. 29–65 (2013)Google Scholar
  69. 69.
    Bodrunova, S.S., Litvinenko, A.A., Gavra, D.P., Yakunin, A.V.: Twitter-based discourse on migrants in Russia: the case of 2013 bashings in Biryulyovo. Int. Rev. Manag. Mark. 5, 97–104 (2015)Google Scholar
  70. 70.
    Greene, S.A.: Twitter and the Russian street: memes, networks and mobilization. Working Materials of Center for the Study of New Media Society, Moscow New Economic School (2012). https://ru.scribd.com/document/94393092/Twitter-and-the-Russian-Street-CNMS-WP-2012-1. Accessed 01 Feb 2017
  71. 71.
    Nikiporets-Takigawa, G.: Tweeting the Russian protests. Digit. Icons: Stud. Russ. Eurasian Central Eur. New Media 9, 1–25 (2013)Google Scholar
  72. 72.
    Barash, V., Kelly, J.: Salience vs commitment: dynamics of political hashtags in Russian Twitter. Berkman Center Research Publication, no. 2012-9 (2012)Google Scholar
  73. 73.
    Sanovich, S., Stukal, D., Penfold-Brown, D., Tucker, J.: Turning the virtual tables: government strategies for addressing online opposition with an application to Russia. Proceedings of the Paper Presented at the 2015 Annual Conference of the International Society of New Institutional Economics, June 2015Google Scholar
  74. 74.
    Blekanov, I.S., Sergeev, S.L., Martynenko, I.A.: Constructing topic-oriented web crawlers with generalized core. Sci. Res. Bull. St. Petersburg State Polytech. Univ. 5(157), 9–15 (2012)Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing AG 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.St. Petersburg State UniversitySt. PetersburgRussia
  2. 2.Freie Universitaet BerlinBerlinGermany

Personalised recommendations