Academic journal article The Science Teacher

Twitter "Tribes" Emerge

Academic journal article The Science Teacher

Twitter "Tribes" Emerge

Article excerpt

A project led by scientists from Royal Holloway University in collaboration with Princeton University has found evidence of how people form into tribelike communities on social network sites such as Twitter.

In a paper published in EPJ Data Science, they found that these communities have a common character, occupation, or interest and have developed their own distinctive languages.

"This means that by looking at the language someone uses, it is possible to predict which community he or she is likely to belong to, with up to 80% accuracy," said John Bryden from the School of Biological Sciences at Royal Holloway. "We searched for unusual words that are used a lot by one community but relatively infrequently by the others. For example, one community often mentioned Justin Bieber, while another talked about President Obama."

Professor Vincent Jansen from Royal Holloway added: "Interestingly, just as people have varying regional accents, we also found that communities would misspell words in different ways. The Justin Bieber fans have a habit of ending words in 'ee', as in 'pleasee', while schoolteachers tend to use long words. …

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