Tweeting #AAPOR for @AAPOR

... and from my own Twitter account

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  1. Adam Sage of RTI posted this network analysis of tweeting at the recent conference of the American Association for Public Opinion Research in Boston (a/k/a #AAPOR). As I was heavily involved in this activity on two distinct fronts I wanted to share a few notes that might shed a little additional light on the question "who is talking to whom," especially regarding the official @AAPOR Twitter account. 

    My roles:

    1. Live tweeter for the official @AAPOR account, a role I have fulfilled at conferences since I created the @AAPOR account (and established AAPOR's presence on Facebook and LinkedIn) when I was on the association's Executive Council in 2009 as associate communications chair. 

    2. Tweeting under my own account, @mikemokr, which according to the Wordle that Joe Murphy posted in his initial analysis appears to have been one of the two most active frequently cited Twitter accounts at the conference, FWIW (along with @mysterypollster a/k/a HuffPost Pollster Mark Blumenthal).  (updated to correct what the Wordle reflects - thanks Joe)

  2. The @AAPOR Twitter activity was, by design, more of a broadcast feed. I wonder if this is the real explanation for Adam's finding that the "community around @AAPOR ... does not include many of the users with high betweenness and closeness" rather than his conclusion that "@AAPOR's propensity to draw Tweets to it naturally steals the thunder of everyone in close proximity."  (Adam did note that the official @AAPOR account focused on general conference information.)

    I have not analyzed this quantitatively but will say:

    Use of the #AAPOR hashtag was widespread. But some tweets apparently used @AAPOR instead of the hashtag, and some included both. My sense was that most tweets that used @AAPOR weren't attempting to engage the official @AAPOR account in conversation (with the main exception being some folks thanking/congratulating AAPOR for a successful conference). 

    Occasionally there was conversation - someone would tweet a question or comment at @AAPOR and I'd reply. But mostly this account was used to announce upcoming conference gatherings (some of this via scheduled tweets sent by Lisa Kamen, communications/marketing specialist at AAPOR's management company) and for my live tweeting of key events - the plenary session, presidential address, AAPOR business meeting and awards banquet. In part this was to provide an "official" real-time account of those events not just for conference attendees but for AAPOR members who could not attend (a/k/a STAYPOR).

    I did not use the official @AAPOR account to live-tweet paper sessions, so as not to suggest that AAPOR was favoring certain sessions over others. In other words, none of the @AAPOR tweets fell under what was by far the most popular category in Joe Murphy's analysis:
  3. I did busily live-tweet a number of paper sessions under my own @mikemokr account (and promote a couple of my own), retweeted highlights I found interesting from other sessions I could not attend, and occasionally engaged in actual conversation(!) with fellow tweeters. 

    In short, the @AAPOR account activity was anomalous compared to what most other #AAPOR tweeters engaged in.

    A couple other fairly random thoughts:

    - Some tweeters were better than others at including the Twitter handles (when known) of paper presenters, plenary speakers etc. For example, from the @AAPOR account my first tweets on plenary remarks by Ron Brownstein, Lynn Vavreck and Dan Wagner omitted their Twitter handles until I saw others tweeting them. But even in cases where others used Twitter handles in their live-tweeting, sometimes they did so sporadically - so there is bound to be some imprecision in the SNA.

    - A bigger question flowing from this: Is it "conversation" if it's simply a matter of someone including a speaker's Twitter handle, but the speaker not replying (being too busy speaking, for example ...)?


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