Measuring influencers in twitter ad-hoc discussions: Active users vs. internal networks in the discourse on biryuliovo bashings in 2013
Despite disputable possibility of extension of analysis of social relations on Twitter to real life, Twitter discussions are stiU being under attention of scholars studying structures and meanings of news-and issue-based ad-hoc public discourse. One of the socially relevant aspects of Twitter studies is that of influencers-accounts that produce impact, either inside or outside Twitter. But there is still no agreement in the research community on how to defme and measure who is an inDuencer: either by 'absolute figUres' or by network analysis metrics; this issue is even rarely discussed. Politically, today's mediatized pub6c sphere where traditional media play the role of information hubs is highly uneven in terms of auess to opinion expression; it privileges institutional players, including political elites, corporations, and media themselves. Hopes that Twitter would provide a more equal space for public deliberation are still not proven weD enough. Using web crawling and manual assessment of Twitter ad-hoc discussion on the Biryulyovo bashings of 2013, we show that users who post or even get commented most do not make it to the positions of most 'central' users by network metrics. We also demonstrate that usen that rank high by betweenness and pagerank centn.lity form circles of reciprocal commenting that show the social cleavage wider than the discussion itselt.