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Indian origin researchers reveal how news spreads on Twitter

Jan 10 2013, 18:51 IST
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An India origin researcher working with the University of Arizona has explained how social media sites like Twitter act as a tool of spreading news. (AP) An India origin researcher working with the University of Arizona has explained how social media sites like Twitter act as a tool of spreading news. (AP)
SummaryAn India origin researcher working with the University of Arizona has explained how social media sites like Twitter act as a tool of spreading news.

An India origin researcher working with the University of Arizona has explained how social media sites like Twitter act as a tool of spreading news.

The answer, according to professor Sudha Ram's research, varies widely by news agency, and there may not be one universally applicable strategy for maximizing Twitter effectiveness.

However, news agencies can learn a lot by looking at how their news diffuses once it is posted on Twitter, said Ram, McClelland Professor of Management Information Systems in the UA's Eller College of Management.

Ram, who recently presented her findings at the International Workshop on Business Applications of Social Network Analysis in Istanbul, examined, over a six-month period, the Twitter activity of 12 major news organizations focused on U.S. news, global news, technology news or financial news.

Ram, working with Devi Bhattacharya, an MIS doctoral student at the UA, tracked what happened to a news article after it was tweeted by a news organization.

Together, they looked at how many people retweeted, or reposted, the article on their own Twitter feeds, then how many times it was subsequently retweeted from those accounts and so forth.

Of the organizations analyzed, BBC had the maximum reach in terms of affected users and retweet levels.

BBC articles also had the highest chance of survival on Twitter, with 0.1 percent of articles surviving, through continual retweets, for three or more days.

The BBC''s high numbers were likely due in large part to the fact that the main 'bbcnews' Twitter account also is supported by two other agency accounts -- 'bbcbreaking' and 'bbcworld'," Ram said.

Overall, Ram said the data showed that articles on Twitter dissipate fairly quickly, with retweeting typically ending between 10 and 72 hours after an article is originally shared.

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