Measuring User Influence on Twitter: The Million Follower Fallacy

author: Meeyoung Cha, Max Planck Institute for Software Systems, Max Planck Institute
published: June 29, 2010,   recorded: May 2010,   views: 9146


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Directed links in social media could represent anything from intimate friendships to common interests, or even a passion for breaking news or celebrity gossip. Such directed links determine the flow of information and hence indicate a user's influence on others — a concept that is crucial in sociology and viral marketing. In this paper, using a large amount of data collected from Twitter, we present an in-depth comparison of three measures of influence: indegree, retweets, and mentions. Based on these measures, we investigate the dynamics of user influence across topics and time. We make several interesting observations. First, popular users who have high indegree are not necessarily influential in terms of spawning retweets or mentions. Second, most influential users can hold significant influence over a variety of topics. Third, influence is not gained spontaneously or accidentally, but through concerted effort such as limiting tweets to a single topic. We believe that these findings provide new insights for viral marketing and suggest that topological measures such as indegree alone reveals very little about the influence of a user.

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Reviews and comments:

Comment1 Steffen W. Frølund, December 21, 2010 at 10:59 a.m.:

This is exactly what the web app Klout is all about. They have built an algorithm that calculates influence based on indegree (followers), retweets, mentions and other types of interaction with posts.

Comment2 Rony Roy, July 27, 2019 at 9:10 p.m.:

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