Wednesday, June 8, 2011
Tracking Down Twitter's Best Rumor SpreadersA new approach could help marketers target users with the most influence.
By Erica Naone
Sometimes it's easy to know which messages will spread through Twitter like wildfire. Just ask Rep. Anthony Weiner (D-New York), who faces pressure to resign after unwittingly sending an intimate photo of himself to thousands of followers.
Researchers at MIT's Laboratory for Information and Decision Systems are testing a search engine that identifies which posts on a given topic are likely to spread by studying the network of connections between users.
The system, called Trumor, identifies people who are well-positioned to spread information, and uses this to weight the value of different posts on a given topic. Information usually spreads between users as they "retweet" posts. To find influential Twitter users whose posts will likely be retweeted, the researchers examined the network of tweets and retweets around topics such as tennis, soccer, and the BET Awards. Early results suggest the technique could provide an effective way to find posts that will spread broadly through the network.
See the rest of the story at technologyreview.com