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

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


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.


Twitter Influencers Inter-ethnic conflict Germany Russia Web crawling 



This research has been supported in full by Russian Science Foundation (research grant 16-18-10125).


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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing AG 2017

Authors and Affiliations

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

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