Twitter Research–50% Of Consumed Tweets Are Generated by 20K Elites

Twitter was supposed to be a democratic tool, but here is the reality – bloggers follow bloggers, celebrity follow celebrities and media follows media.

A research conducted by Yahoo reveals interesting data points:

“Roughly 50% of tweets consumed are generated by just 20K elite users—where the media produces the most information, but celebrities are the most followed.”

The study classifies users using Twitter Lists into “elite” and “ordinary” users (snowball sampling), further classifying elite users into one of four categories of interest— media, celebrities, organizations, and bloggers. Some findings from the research:

  • There is considerable support for the two-step flow of information—almost half the information that originates from the media passes to the masses indirectly via a diffuse intermediate layer of opinion leaders, who although classified as ordinary users, are more connected and more exposed to the media than their followers
  • Attention remains highly concentrated, where roughly 0.05% of the population accounts for almost half of all posted URLs.
  • Media-originated URLs are disproportionately represented among short-lived URLs while those originated by bloggers tend to be overrepresented among long-lived URLs. Finally, we find that the longest-lived URLs are dominated by content such as videos and music, which are continually being rediscovered by Twitter users and appear to persist indefinitely.

Some other interesting facets of the research:


  • This is an important question considering that Twitter has become an important listening channel and also a marketing channel for organizations.
  • High values along the diagonal cells shows that tweets from a particular category are consumed the most within the same category.



– World News and even within that US news accounts for the maximum information which is listened to.

Do you agree with the findings of the above report and more importantly do you see a similar pattern in your comprehension of information while on Twitter.

Interesting to note that even after so much of penetration Twitter has achieved, elite class still rules the mass – keep this “consumer behavior” (of following the elite) in mind, while building your consumer product.

You may read the complete report here.

[By guest author Pooja Gupta.]

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