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Social Networks that Matter: Twitter Under the Microscope

Bernardo A. Huberman

Hewlett-Packard Laboratories

Daniel M. Romero

Hewlett-Packard Laboratories, Bristol

Fang Wu

HP Labs

December 5, 2008

Scholars, advertisers and political activists see massive online social networks as a representation of social interactions that can be used to study the propagation of ideas, social bond dynamics and viral marketing, among others. But the linked structures of social networks do not reveal actual interactions among people. Scarcity of attention and the daily rythms of life and work makes people default to interacting with those few that matter and that reciprocate their attention. A study of social interactions within Twitter reveals that the driver of usage is a sparse and hidden network of connections underlying the "declared" set of friends and followers.

Number of Pages in PDF File: 9

Keywords: social networks, attention economy, twitter

JEL Classification: D70, L15, M30

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Date posted: December 12, 2008  

Suggested Citation

Huberman, Bernardo A. and Romero, Daniel M. and Wu, Fang, Social Networks that Matter: Twitter Under the Microscope (December 5, 2008). Available at SSRN: http://ssrn.com/abstract=1313405 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.1313405

Contact Information

Bernardo A. Huberman (Contact Author)
Hewlett-Packard Laboratories ( email )
1501 Page Mill Road
Palo Alto, CA 94301
United States
650-857-5318 (Phone)
Daniel M. Romero
Hewlett-Packard Laboratories, Bristol ( email )
United Kingdom
Fang Wu
HP Labs ( email )
Palo Alto, CA 94304
United States
Feedback to SSRN

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