Twitter Friend Repertoires

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Introducing a methodology to assess patterns of information management on Twitter, article by Jan-Hinrik Schmidt, published in First Monday.

This paper argues that previous Twitter research has mainly employed a “broadcast perspective” by focusing on follower relations and concepts such as popularity, reach, or influence. But the microblogging platform is also a tool for users to combine a personalized set of sources. We propose the concept of “Twitter friend repertoires” and present a novel methodology to assess them by comparing the set of Twitter friends against a list of previously identified accounts from publicly relevant speakers. We exemplify this approach by presenting comparative findings on the friend repertoires of four groups of German Twitter users, demonstrating how this approach can reveal distinct patterns in the sources people follow on Twitter. We conclude with a set of research perspectives which look at Twitter as a space for personalized, yet patterned information management.