May 17, 2022

Research Paper: "Who Says What to Whom on Twitter"

A very interesting that you’ll want to share your colleagues.

Title: “Who Says What to Whom on Twitter” (10 Pages; PDF)

Shaomei Wu
Cornell University, USA

Jake M. Hofman
Yahoo! Research, NY, USA

Winter A. Mason
Yahoo! Research, NY, USA


We study several longstanding questions in media communications research, in the context of the microblogging service Twitter, regarding the production, flow, and consumption of information. To do so, we exploit a recently introduced feature of Twitter known as “lists” to distinguish between elite users—by which we mean celebrities, bloggers, and representatives of media outlets and other formal organizations—and ordinary users. Based on this classification, we find a striking concentration of attention on Twitter, in that roughly 50% of URLs consumed are generated by just 20K elite users, where the media produces the most information, but celebrities are the most followed. We also find significant homophily within categories: celebrities listen to celebrities, while bloggers listen to bloggers etc; however, bloggers in general rebroadcast more information than the other categories. Next we re-examine the classical “two-step flow” theory of communications, finding considerable support for it on Twitter. Third, we find that URLs broadcast by different categories of users or containing different types of content exhibit systematically different lifespans. And finally, we examine the attention paid by the different user categories to different news topics.

This paper was presented at WWW 2011 in Hyberbad, India

About Gary Price

Gary Price ( is a librarian, writer, consultant, and frequent conference speaker based in the Washington D.C. metro area. Before launching INFOdocket, Price and Shirl Kennedy were the founders and senior editors at ResourceShelf and DocuTicker for 10 years. From 2006-2009 he was Director of Online Information Services at, and is currently a contributing editor at Search Engine Land.