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Examining News Sharing on Twitter

Category: Science & Technology
Posted: 07:53AM

Some say we are in the information Age because of the relatively easy access to the largest library man has ever created; the Internet. With a few keystrokes you can get from ancient history to today's stock prices, and from multiple sources, so if you are one of those sources, how can you make sure it is you the people see? That is what researchers at the University of Arizona are studying, as it specifically relates to Twitter use.

Many news sources have Twitter accounts (including OCC) to spread their news items, but what happens after the item is tweeted? Ideally people will retweet it and keep spreading the news to give the organization the greatest reach possible, but that does not often happen. The researchers followed twelve major news sources (the New York Times, Washington Post, BBC, NPR, Reuters, Guardian, Forbes, Financial Times, Mashable, Arstechnica, Wired, and Bloomberg) for six months and found that the majority of their news tweets spotted being retweeted within 10 and 72 hours of the original post. The BBC had the highest survival chance at 0.1% of tweets being retweeted for three or more days, with the New York Times and Mashable coming in second place. Forbes, Wired, and Bloomberg tweets and the shortest lifespans.

The obvious question is why are some sources spreading better than others, but for now, the answer is not known. Future research, which this study will help launch, may determine how to get news to survive by determining which factors are most important for it, such as the number of followers, follower engagement, and even the time of the tweet.

(The images depict the retweeting of news items from the New York Times and Reuters. The New York Times is more active than Reuters.)

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