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6 Types of Twitter Conversations

Not all Twitter conversations are created alike. A recent report from the Pew Research Center in association with the Social Media Research Foundation offers a view from above after having analyzed thousands of Twitter conversations and identifying six conversational archetypes.

As a marketer, planning your Twitter strategy for 2015 – knowing and understanding these six types of conversations on Twitter can help you tremendously.

Here’s what they came up with:

1. The Polarized Crowd falls into discussions that feature two large, dense groups with little connection between them. These discussions often center around highly heated, divisive political subjects. “[T]here is usually little conversation between these groups despite the fact that they are focused on the same topic,” the report reads. “Polarized Crowds on Twitter are not arguing. They are ignoring one another while pointing to different web resources and using different hashtags.”

This, the report asserts, is proof that partisan Twitter users have differing go-to information sources, with liberals linking to many mainstream news sites and conservatives linking to a different set of sites. 

2. The Tight Crowd features very interconnected people with few isolated participants. This form is often taken by community-oriented issues, including professional topics, hobby groups and conferences. The researchers found that social media can facilitate sharing and mutual support amongst networked learning communities.

3. Brand Clusters, on the other hand, feature many disconnected participants talking about well-known products or popular subjects such as celebrities. The larger the discussion population, the less likely that participants are interconnected. “There are still institutions and topics that command mass interest,” the report reads. “Oftentimes, the Twitter chatter about these institutions and their messages is not among people connecting with each other. Rather, they are relaying or passing along the message of the institution or person and there is no extra exchange of ideas.”

4. In Community Clusters, multiple smaller groups may form around hubs with their own information sources as well as audiences and influencers. These typically spring from popular topics such as global news stories. This was found to show that multiple conversations can be ignited by some information sources and subjects, illustrating diverse perspectives on an issue or subject.

5. Breaking news stories with information streaming from both pundits and established media outlets create a Broadcast Network in which many participants are simply repeating the tweets of these groups. Connections here occur only to the hub news source, not within individuals. This group features powerful conversation starters and agenda setters in the new world of social media, with well-known personalities and organizations having a large influence on the discussions.

6. Finally, Support Networks are formed by a hub-and-spoke structure that differs from the Broadcast Network pattern. This is often comprised by a Twitter service account handling customer complaints for a major business, with the hub replying to many otherwise disconnected users. These streams are becoming more and more important as businesses, groups and government entities increasingly provide support and services by social-media channels.

Which category do you fall into? Tell me in the comments below or send me a tweet!


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