WELCOME TO THE CONTINUITY CENTRAL ARCHIVE SITE

Please note that this is a page from a previous version of Continuity Central and is no longer being updated.

To see the latest business continuity news, jobs and information click here.

Business continuity information

How Twitter shapes public opinion

A new paper from the American Institute of Physics provides some useful background information for making social media-based crisis communications plans.

The paper ‘Opinion Formation on Social Media: An Empirical Approach’ looks at how Twitter shapes public opinion and is the result of work by a group of researchers in China who investigated how opinions evolve on Twitter by gathering approximately 6 million messages that were tweeted out over a six month period. They ran these messages through computer algorithms that sorted them by topic and then analysed the underlying sentiments of the authors as they evolved over time.

Described in the journal Chaos, produced by AIP Publishing, the work reveals several surprises about how Twitter shapes public opinion, said Fei Xiong, a lecturer at Beijing Jiaotong University who gathered and analysed the data with Professor Yun Liu.

Xiong and Liu discovered that public opinion on Twitter often evolves rapidly and levels off quickly into an ordered state in which one opinion remains dominant. In true social media form, this consensus is often driven by the endorsements of larger and larger groups, which tend to have the most influence.

Since public opinion levels off and evolves into an ordered state within a short time, small advantages of one opinion in the early stages can turn into a bigger advantage during the evolution of public opinion.

The work also revealed that Twitter users overall are more likely to work to change the opinions of others than to admit to changes of their own.

Obtain the paper.

•Date: 12th March 2014 • World •Type: Article • Topic: Crisis communications

Business Continuity Newsletter Sign up for Continuity Briefing, our weekly roundup of business continuity news. For news as it happens, subscribe to Continuity Central on Twitter.
   

How to advertise How to advertise on Continuity Central.

To submit news stories to Continuity Central, e-mail the editor.

Want an RSS newsfeed for your website? Click here