Finding Twitter TribesCategory: Science & Technology
Posted: March 18, 2013 11:03AM
According to the story of Pygmalion and My Fair Lady, as well as some actual science, it is possible to identify where someone grew up just by listening to their accent. This is because people generally adopt the language of their community. This idea led researchers at Royal Holloway University and Princeton University to examine if Internet communities have their own 'accents.'
To perform this study the researchers turned to Twitter and used algorithms from physics and network science to identify words and spelling unique to specific communities. For example, Justin Bieber fans tend to use double 'e's at the end of their words ('pleasee' instead of 'please'). Ultimately the researchers found they could identify the community someone is in with as much as 80% accuracy, just based on their Internet accent.
Without a doubt the results of this research will prove useful to sociologists who are trying to better understand how people utilize the Internet. Also it will enable scientists to watch and study new accents as they are formed.