May 18, 2022

Research Preprint: “Twitter in Academic Conferences: Usage, Networking and Participation over Time”

New research paper submit for publication in an ACM journal.


Twitter in Academic Conferences: Usage, Networking and Participation over Time 


Xidao Wen
University of Pittsburgh 

Christoph Trattner

Yu-Ru Lin
University of Pittsburgh

Denis Parra


via arXiv


Twitter is often referred to as a backchannel for conferences. While the main conference takes place in a physical setting, attendees and virtual attendees socialize, introduce new ideas or broadcast information by microblogging on Twitter.

In this paper we analyze the scholars’ Twitter use in 16 Computer Science conferences over a timespan of five years. Our primary finding is that over the years there are increasing differences with respect to conversation use and information use in Twitter. We studied the interaction net- work between users to understand whether assumptions about the structure of the conversations hold over time and between differ- ent types of interactions, such as retweets, replies, and mentions. While ‘people come and people go’, we want to understand what keeps people stay with the conference on Twitter. By casting the problem to a classification task, we find different factors that con- tribute to the continuing participation of users to the online Twitter conference activity. These results have implications for research communities to implement strategies for continuous and active participation among members.

Direct to Full Text (7 pages; PDF)

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.