A special analysis by the Pew Research Center and the Social Media Research Foundation of thousands of Twitter conversations finds there are six distinct patterns to the conversational and social structures that take place on Twitter:
- Polarized Crowds often form around political topics
- Tight Crowds are shared spaces of learning and passion
- Brand Clusters are formed around products and celebrities
- Community Clusters are created around global news
- Broadcast Network structures are created when people re-tweet breaking news and commentary from pundits
- Support Network conversations revolve around a singular source
The researchers note that the people who take the time to post and talk about any subject — political or otherwise – on Twitter are a special group. Their conversations are not representative of the views or behaviors of the full Twitterverse. Twitter users are only 18% of internet users and 14% of the overall adult population. Still, the structure of these Twitter conversations says something meaningful about how engaged users discuss topics, find each other, and share information.