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21:14, 18 July 2018 Wednesday
Update: 13:03, 13 June 2013 Thursday

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A small group spreads twitter messages during Gezi protests
A small group spreads twitter messages during Gezi protests

How a small group of "hidden influencers" spread their message far and wide.

World Bulletin / News Desk

Two recent studies shed light on how twitter messages about the events spread rapidly both within and beyond Turkey's borders.

Here are some of the insights that Sandra González-Bailón at the Oxford Internet Institute and Pablo Barberá and Megan Metzger of NYU's Social Media and Political Participation laboratory found by analyzing Twitter activity surrounding the protests, in studies published originally on the blog Monkey Cage .

1) Unlike in some protests, almost all of the earliest tweets originated from within Turkey: Only about 30 percent of people tweetingduring the Egyptian revolution in 2011 were actually in Egypt, but around 90 percent of all the Gezi-related tweets came from inside Turkey, and 50 percent came from Istanbul.

2) A small group of protesters drove almost the entire conversation: Just one percent of users generated about 80 percent of all retweets, and three-quarters of users talking about the protests got no retweets at all.

3) Some of these Turkey protest "authorities" are not very central to the overall Twitter-sphere: Some of the protest's biggest influencers were folks who have average followings or follow more people than follow them back, so they only became prominent on Twitter during the protests.

4 ) Tweets about Turkey quickly spread to the English-speaking Twitter community: Twitter news about Taksim quickly broke out of the Turkish-language bubble and into the hands of English-speaking hacktivists, who in turn helped spark international attention.


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