Half of all tweets generated by just 20K elite users

April 7, 2011 by  
Filed under Media, SMO, Social Networking

A new report from Yahoo! Research has used Twitter in an attempt to answer Lasswell’s maxim: “who says what to whom in what channel with what effect”.

The report, Who Says What to Whom on Twitter | Yahoo! Research, found that 50% of all tweets consumed are generated by just 20,000 elite users.

For the purposes of the study, they classified Twitter users into “elite” or “ordinary”, breaking elite users into the categories media, celebrities, organisations and bloggers.

One of the more interesting things looked at in the report is the lifespan of content, and what they found with media-related tweets.

“We find that different categories of users emphasize different types of content, and that different content types exhibit dramatically different characteric lifespans, ranging from less than a day to months.”

In its conclusion, the report found that “media-originated URLs are disproportiantely represented among short-lived URLs”.

We also find that different types of content exhibit very different lifespans: media-originated URLs are disproportionately represented among short-lived URLs while those originated by bloggers tend to be overrepresented among long-lived URLs. Finally, we find that the longest-lived URLs are dominated by content such as videos and music, which are continually being rediscovered by Twitter users and appear to persist indefinitely.

That can be seen in this figure, generated by unshortening 35,000 URLs that “lived” at least 200 days, and mapping them to 21,034 domains.

Read the abstract and get the PDF of the report here:
Who Says What to Whom on Twitter | Yahoo! Research