Tweet Forensics: Occupy vs. Tea Party


Occupy Wall Street Twitter network 15 Nov 2011.: Credit: Marc Smith, Social Media Research Foundation.Occupy Wall Street Twitter network as of November 15 2011. [Click the image for a larger version] Credit: Marc Smith/Social Media Research FoundationHere’s an interesting analysis by Marc Smith at the Social Media Research Foundation in Belmont, California, of the difference between Occupy Wall Street and Tea Party tweeters. The above image shows the OWS network. Here’s how it’s described on Marc Smith’s Flickr page:

These are the connections among the Twitter users who recently tweeted the word occupywallstreet when queried on November 15, 2011, scaled by numbers of followers (with outliers thresholded). Connections created when users reply, mention or follow one another. Relies and mentions edges are highlighted in blue, follows connections are grey. The data set starts on 11/15/2011 23:08 and ends on 11/15/2011 23:34 UTC, a total of 26 minutes of traffic.

Tea Party Twitter network 15 Nov 2011.: Credit: Marc Smith, Social Media Research Foundation.Tea Party Twitter network as of November 15th 2011. [Click on the image for a larger version] Credit: Marc Smith/Social Media Research Foundation.And here’s the Twitter network formed by Tea Party users. From Marc Smith’s Flickr page:

These are the connections among the Twitter users who recently tweeted the word teaparty when queried on November 15, 2011, scaled by numbers of followers (with outliers thresholded). Connections created when users reply, mention or follow one another. Relies and mentions edges are highlighted in blue, follows connections are grey. The data set starts on 11/15/2011 14:22 UTC and ends on 11/15/2011 17:23, a total of 3 hours and 1 minute of traffic.

As you can see, the OWS network is bigger, more diffuse, more active, and less centered on already established Twitter relationships. Basically, it’s more viral. The Tea Party network is more contained, less contagious. Peter Aldhous at New Scientist writes:

Compared to Occupy, the Tea Party supporters have a much denser network of following relationships. “The Tea Party is an ‘in group’ thing,” Smith argues. But for now, at least, the conversation within this group is muted compared to that surrounding Occupy—not only is the rate of tweets much slower, but fewer of the relationships show up in blue, indicating an active response to a post.

MORE HARD-HITTING JOURNALISM

In 2014, before Donald Trump announced his run for president, we knew we had to do something different to address the fundamental challenge facing journalism: how hard-hitting reporting that can hold the powerful accountable can survive as the bottom falls out of the news business.

Being a nonprofit, we started planning The Moment for Mother Jones, a special campaign to raise $25 million for key investments to make Mother Jones the strongest watchdog it can be. Five years later, readers have stepped up and contributed an astonishing $23 million in gifts and future pledges. This is an incredible statement from the Mother Jones community in the face of huge threats—both economic and political—against the free press.

Read more about The Moment and see what we've been able to accomplish thanks to readers' incredible generosity so far, and please join them today. Your gift will be matched dollar for dollar, up to $500,000 total, during this critical moment for journalism.

We Recommend

Latest

Sign up for our newsletters

Subscribe and we'll send Mother Jones straight to your inbox.

Get our award-winning magazine

Save big on a full year of investigations, ideas, and insights.

Subscribe

Support our journalism

Help Mother Jones' reporters dig deep with a tax-deductible donation.

Donate

We have a new comment system! We are now using Coral, from Vox Media, for comments on all new articles. We'd love your feedback.