Influencers on the Russian Twitter: Institutions vs. people in the discussion on migrants
With the emergence of discussion platforms like Twitter, the hopes rose that computer-mediated public sphere would become more even in access to discussion than mass-mediatized public sphere of the late 20th century. Scholars have argued that it will eventually form an 'opinion crossroads' where conflicts would be discussed by all the parties involved. But today, existing research provides mixed evidence on whether ordinary users, rather than mainstream media and institutional actors, can become influencers in discussions on current issues, e.g. relations between host and migrant communities. We focus on the Twitter discussion about an inter-ethnic conflict in Moscow's Biryuliovo district in 2013 and aim at defining who were its real influencers by reconstructing the discussion's web graph, as well as analyzing and juxtaposing its metrics to figures indicating user activity. Our results show that, despite hyperactivity of media accounts, they were largely absent as deliberative influencers, but the place of influencers was occupied by politicized (nationalist and liberal) accounts, rather by eyewitness reporters or public figures.