[For the first part of this series, click here.
For the third part of this series, click here.]
As we said in the previous post the dataset we have includes 27,491 unique tweets, collected between Sunday September 01 2014 at 20:35:07 and Wednesday January 15 2014 at 16:16:41Central Time.
(Needless to say Twitter activity with #MLA14 has continued, but Wednesday January 15 16:16:41 is when the archive we are focusing on ends).
Another Finding: How Many Unique Twitter Usernames
There are 3,545 unique usernames in the dataset. Logically not all users tweet as much or with the same frequency.
This number does not mean that 3,545 unique “real” people tweeted with the hashtag, as we must consider that some Twitter users participated in the backchannel with more than one username or account (for example, a personal and an organisational or institutional one), but this is not always easy to identify. It is also possible that more than one “real” people manage one single account.
The following chart compares the number of Twitter usernames that tweeted with #MLA14 during the period of collection described above with the official number of registered participants in the program* and an approximate number of paid attendees.
Many questions arise about the relationships between those attending the convention, those registered in the program (that are a subset of the former) and those participating via the backchannel.
Determining nuanced relationships between the groups might shed some light on the role of tweeting within the context the convention and live-tweeting from the convention itself. Is the backchannel a significant method of “amplification” beyond the convention’s venue? Can current data answer this question and help lay out trends for the future?
There are of course many other questions arising from the data. We’ll be looking at them gradually, some here and hopefully with more detail in a future publication.
*Chris Zarate released program data on GitHub in XML and JSON format: https://github.com/mlaa/mla14.org
Please check John Mulligan’s blog for some very interesting visualisations of scholarly networks including #MLA14.