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Twitter Research at Harvard: “Men Follow Men and Nobody Tweets”

The purpose of Twitter may be still up for debate, but now even researchers at Harvard analyzed the data of 300.000 Twitter users, studied their behavior and compared it with other social networks.

There are a few surprises:

  • Men tend to have about 15% more followers than women. Men also have more reciprocated relationships, in which two users follow each other. “This is intriguing, especially given that females hold a slight majority on Twitter” ( men 45% of Twitter users, women  55%).
  • Despite the fact that both men and women send at about the same number of tweets per day, both men and women are more likely to follow men.
  • 80% are followed by or follow at least one user. By comparison, only 60 to 65% of other online social networks’ members had at least one friend. This suggests that actual users (as opposed to the media at large) understand how Twitter works.”
  • “Twitter’s usage patterns are also very different from a typical online social network. A typical Twitter user contributes very rarely.”
  • These results contrast what research has found out about 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.”

I wonder whether there are differences that apply to the way female and male researchers would use research networking tools. Do they have different expectations regarding the features? Do they network differently?

Do you know of other studies that target these questions?

Original post was published on the BioMed2.0 blog


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