Exploration of the Social News TV: The Communication Behavior of #ajnewsgrid

The Follower Network AnalysisSocial network analysis (SNA) provides a vital tool for understanding the behavior of networks and graphs.

In SNA, there are four ideas of centrality.

According to the definition from Cambridge Intelligence:Degree centralityDegree centrality assigns an importance score based purely on the number of links held by each node.

This measure helps analyst find very connected individuals, popular individuals, individuals who are likely to hold most information or individuals who can quickly connect with the wider network.

In directed data, there are two kinds of degree centrality: Indegree centrality and Outdegree centrality.

Indegree centrality is determined by the number of ties directed to or received by a node.

Outdegree centrality is the opposite of indegree centrality, as it is determined by the number of ties directed or sent from a node to others.

Betweenness centralityBetweenness centrality measures the number of times a node lies on the shortest path between other nodes.

(It shows which nodes act as ‘bridges’ between nodes in a network.

)It is helpful for finding the individuals who influence the flow around a system.

Closeness centralityIt scores each node based on their ‘closeness’ to all other nodes within the network.

It is useful for finding the individuals who are best placed to influence the entire network most quickly.

EigenCentralityEigenCentrality measures a node’s influence based on the number of links it has to other nodes within the network.

It then goes a step further by also taking into account how well connected a node is, and how many links their connections have, and so on through the network.

It can identify nodes with influence over the whole network, not just those directly connected to it.

So, what does the #ajnewsgrid follower network look like?In this graph, each node stands for one individual account.

The edges indicate the relationship between pairs of nodes.

From the graph, there are three main groups in this network.

The yellow nodes are accounts talking about Southern Cameroon and Ambazonia independent movement.

The green nodes are people talking about Biafra separatists, IPOB, and Nigeria election.

The purple ones are usually people who work for or are associated with Al Jazeera network.

Also, accounts in purple group pay attention to variety of issues.

Let’s take a closer look to find out which accounts act as “bridge” in the network.

Now, with the matching Twitter account, we can see who a crucial for the information flow in the network.

The node size stands for the betweenness centrality.

The bigger the node, the more important it plays in the network.

If I want to share information, who will I go to in the network?Indegree centrality is significant because it demonstrates the prominence or popularity of an individual, since they are the target of communication or interest.

Compared with other groups of nodes, the yellow group has more bigger nodes.

This probably suggests that people who pay attention to Southern Cameroon issue are more active in communication on Twitter.

Between the yellow group and purple group, account @LeahHardingAJE plays a different role from other Al Jazeera network accounts.

From the graph, it shows that there are a lot of interactions from accounts from yellow group to @LeahHardingAJE.

Who is active in the network?Outdegree centrality is significant because it can help to identify influential individuals in the network, or individuals that are particularly active communicators.

From the graph, yellow group has the most active accounts, which they talk mostly about the Southern Cameroon issue.

The second active group is the green ones.

What does the information flow in the network look like?In the graph, the blue lines mean receiving messages and red lines mean sending out messages.

From the network graph, Al Jazeera as a famous international media outlet receives lots of message, no matter it is in the form of motion in tweets, retweets, or comment in tweets.

There are lot of interactions between @AJEnglish and other individual account.

However, there is only one account, @OBIZUOGU, sending out a lot of messages in the network.

The interesting finding is that @LeahHardingAJE in fact plays a role as the bridge between yellow group and purple group.

In short, @LeahHardingAJE probably received many interactions from accounts talking about Southern Cameroon issue, and @LeahHardingAJE would also send or pass on the messages to the purple (AJE) group.

Conclusion and OutlookFrom the main groups in the network and other analysis, the show NewsGrid has huge popularity and active users among African communities.

The SNA network also gives us the big picture of the followers, telling us which account plays an important role or has impact on the whole network.

photo credit: ReutersIndeed, Twitter as a social media, plays a crucial yet interesting role of pointing out the topics that people (at least some number of people).

People communicate and exchange opinions, and form interests on certain topics.

From the SNA research, people even use the #ajnewsgrid as tool to raise and attract attention.

However, the research also wants to explore the possibility whether the #ajnewsgrid can take the active position and lead the conversation with its topic of the episode.

In this exploratory research, the social interaction between Twitter users and the show is not very instant or communicative as expected.

After the time series analysis, the social TV engagement on Twitter is still rough.

To explore more accurate and specific answers, research analysis should include data from Facebook where there are more instant and direct interactions from audience.

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