Twitts and their behavior

June 2, 2009

This is odd. A blog on results of a “working paper” on Twitter behavior from a MBA student and professor at Harvard Business School.

We found that an average man is almost twice more likely to follow another man than a woman. Similarly, an average woman is 25% more likely to follow a man than a woman. Finally, an average man is 40% more likely to be followed by another man than by a woman. These results cannot be explained by different tweeting activity – both men and women tweet at the same rate.
These results are stunning given what previous research has found in the context of online social networks. On a typical online social network, most of the activity is focused around women – men follow content produced by women they do and do not know, and women follow content produced by women they know. Generally, men receive comparatively little attention from other men or from women.

I’m a bit curious as to whether the type of Twitter use is different between men and women and whether that makes a difference.
Another tidbit was the assertion that the median number of Tweets is 1; one might think that they need to create some screens for users who set up accounts and then never really used it for anything. I’d also be interested in trying to figure out whether there are lurkers who actively read Twitter from various sources but never post anything.
Finally there was an assertion that 90% of Tweets came from 10% of users…no, they did not seem to identify @BoraZ specifically.
[h/t: clbs]

No Responses Yet to “Twitts and their behavior”

  1. Coturnix Says:

    Hey, I am not the worst offender (I think) 😉
    They made a mistake of counting abandoned, duplicate and spam accounts, thus the median of 1.


  2. becca Says:

    So is this another way of stating that men have gravitated toward the social network where there is a 140 character limit?


  3. bill Says:

    whether there are lurkers who actively read Twitter from various sources but never post anything
    I am one such, although “actively” is a stretch. I have an account only to search for news ahead of the usual media cycle — whatever it is, you can usually find out about it by searching Twitter way before it hits the media or even blogs.
    (I think you can search without an account, but having one lets you dig down into any tweet trails you find interesting.)


  4. Ambitwistor Says:

    becca: Difficult to reconcile with their finding that 55% of Twitter users are women. The results above are about which Twitter users gravitate toward which other Twitter users, not who gravitates toward Twitter.


  5. becca Says:

    To clarify: I’m assuming that only some subset of users of social media will actually produce content worth following. The women who are capable of doing so, are already doing so on Facebook et al where they are not constrained by character count; whereas the men who are capable of doing so generally only have about 140 characters at a time worth of anything worth following.


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