Feb 19, 2013

Activity on #Shahbag in Twitter: Part 5: Two significant groups emerged

Last time I collected the Tweets on Feb 18th. The death of a blogger activist shook the nation and we see many related posts on Twitter. The above image in NodeXL shows the network generated by reply, mention, and retweet relation, I did not include the follow relation here. Now I noticed several groups, and some people are central within their groups, and the connected people are not necessarily of similar opinion. Then what makes them connected? Why people with different opinion are in same group and people with similar opinion are in separate groups?  It's the reply and mention. After I read the tweets, it was clear that they are trying to make their points to the people of opposite opinion. So some people who are highly supporting the #Shahbag movement are trying to make the non-supporters realize their stand, on the other hand the opposing group was also communicating with the supporting group with their point of view. So, people with opposite opinion were communicating for argument.

As, this graph did not contain the follow relationship, we do not see strong ties or grouping. Because people usually follow like minded people, even if they mention or reply others who have opposite opinion. So this time I polled the network including both follower relation and reply/mention relation. And then I grouped them using clustering algorithm. After it was grouped including the follower relationship, we can see two major groups.
This graph considers both follower and reply/mention relationship, and therefore, the clustering was different from the previous one. I am only showing the follow relationship with orange color links. Now the people in the left group (136 people) are connected to each other and they mostly follow people within this book. Their tweets contain news, url about the protest, sometimes historical documents regarding war crimes, asking for punishment for the war-criminals. On the other hand, the right side group with 68 people, are opposing the movement, and arguing that it is led by the government. What was not obvious from the previous reply/mention graph, became apparent from the follow relationship graph: who belongs to what side of the movement.

But, hey we also see some orange lines running between two groups, that means there are people from one group following people from another, does this mean that people follow someone who has opposite political stand ? I wanted to identify who are the connectors of the both groups. I sorted the users (nodes) based on their betweenness centrality and later in-degree (number of links coming to them) in the graph, and the highest was AlJazeera (with maximum number of people connected to this account), which is a news agency. And people from both sides are following the AlJazeera account, thus making it a strong connector between two groups (the algorithm placed AlJazeera in the left group as it had more connection with AlJazeera).  Then I realized other news agencies might have similar roles: I found another news agency also had strong connection within both groups. Another account, though belonging to the supporter group, had lots of followers from the opposing group, that was something interesting to observe.

I selected AlJazeera and moved it near the border between both groups, and now we see how it also
dragged a lot of orange links with it (middle-top), and so, now in the middle of the border became thinner, we see fewer links there. We can say, AlJazeera is a bridge node.

But it was not the only account in the border line, I also found out some other accounts who have followers/followees from both groups. I dragged them near the border showing their connections with both sides.

Links from those accounts are highlighted in green color.

After that, I removed the biggest bridge node AlJazeera and see how the graph changes: compare with the second image in this post and see how the bridge nodes make lots of difference understanding the network dynamics. Some other bridge nodes are the users who are not taking any particular side and it is not clear what their opinion is regarding the movement. They seem neutral or less aggressive but they are also tweeting heavily about he event, hence became important bridge nodes. People from both groups follow them and mentioned/replied-to them.

Feb 15, 2013

Activity on #shahbag in Twitter: part 4

Analysis of Feb 15:

Here people are grouped by their connection and follower-followee relationship. No wonder that at this stage of the movement there are people from both sides, people who are supporting the movement and people who are opposing it. Today (Feb 15), a blogger-activist was murdered who was a supporter of the movement.

The clustered sub-graphs clearly show the difference of opinion and the activeness of people in both sides. I selected the tweets from group 1, the biggest connected group, they follow each other and retweet each others' tweets. Their tweets contain news and anger about the murder of the blogger. The hashtags they used are: bangladesh, jamaat, shibir, thabababa, islam, terrorist, razakar. The top links they shared are the genocide archive of bangladesh, interactive timeline of bangladesh liberation war, and the news about the murder of the blogger.

In contrast, the people in group 4 (the second largest group,  top-right side next to the biggest one) seems to have different opinion, they are opposing the shahbag movement, claiming that the murder of the blogger happened either by govt/police or internal clash. This group has its own follower base and in their tweets they are supporting jamat/shibir and they are also talking about matters different from the movement, like padma bridge, bdr, amnesty, etc.

Here, for anonymity, I have used sphere shape instead of profile pictures, and the bigger nodes are the important ones. Different colors indicate different timezone, here red is USA and Green is Bangladesh. So in both groups, we can see people from different countries are involved.

Using the Twitter stream graph, we can see the trend and what people are talking today: http://www.neoformix.com/Projects/TwitterStreamGraphs/view.php (You can go to this link to create your own)

I omitted the names of the users to prevent their anonymity. But the stream-graph shows what were prevalent topics in Twitter today.

Feb 12, 2013

Activity on #Shahbag in Twitter: part 3

Feb 13:

I am posting on Feb 13 analysis:

Here the icons are sized proportional to the number of times they engaged in a conversation (reply, being replied to, mentioned, being mentioned by someone, retweeted, etc.). And their horizontal position is related to their timezone, so people in USA are in left side, people in Bangladesh are in right side. Also, people at the top newly joined twitter, people at the bottom are long term twitter users (I doubt how often they actually used twitter before this movement!). I selected the 'most talked about' person in this graph and the people who are talking with him or about him (connections shown in red). Any idea why this person is so active and mentioned so many times ? Also, see how some new users became so active within just a few days ?

Feb 12:
I am posting about the data I collected today, Feb 12.

I looked at the graph and realized some people are tweeting alone and they are not connected to other people by retweeting or mentioning others, rather they are kind-of island nodes in the graph. I clustered the graph according to the connected component, drew all the disjoint people at the bottom of the graph, and now we can see that lots of people are just tweeting all by themselves, they are not followed by or following other people.

In Twitter a lot of activities revolve around retweeting, replying to each other, resharing urls and news. If people want to spread a news about some event or topic, then just tweeting new tweets can be exhausting. While some people are surrounded by lots of followers and retweeters, a lot of users either do not know how to connect with others by following them or retweeting them.

Feb 10, 2013

Activity on #Shahbag in Twitter: the people, what they are talking, what they are sharing. Part 2

Today, BCC (Bangladesh cricket board) was among the top mentioned accounts within all the tweets that had the #shahbag hashtag. Also, some people are using #shahabag or #shahbagh. It will be better to stick to just one to avoid confusion and to make the trend consistent.

Part 3 here.
Part 4 here.

This time I am looking at how users around the world getting connected through their tweets. Each box is the users from a country. The more people tweeting from that country, the larger the box is. The largest one is indeed the people tweeting from Bangladesh, and our very own Tamim Iqbal is one of the biggest node in that box. Why ? Because here, the sizes are proportional to the number of times other people retweeted their tweets or mentioned them in their tweets. Tamim himself made one tweet on #shahbag, but that one tweet is retweeted 27 times. I am not sure if this is the actual official Twitter account of Tamim or not, but that's definitely inspirational. As today Bangladesh cricket team also expressed their solidarity with the movement, lots of tweets were about that, too. Our other celebrities should also come forward like this.

#Shahbag tweets connecting the world. 
The thick connections between the groups show that people from Bangladesh are connected with the rest of the world, the news from Dhaka are spread around by people in other countries in the form of retweets and replies. My first intuition was that may be mostly the Bangladeshis who are staying abroad are tweeting more, as Twitter is not that popular in Bangladesh (which may have changed in these few days). But this graph proved me wrong, It clearly shows that the biggest group is tweeting from Bangladesh. We are definitely not far behind when it comes to utilizing social media for national priority.

You may not be able to read the names of each country clearly from the image, so I am going to list them here (in decreasing number of people):

Bangladesh, USA, England, India, France, Australia, UAE, Belgium, Kuwait, Colombia, Israel, Singapore, Holland, Nepal, Morocco, Denmark, Thailand, Germany.

Remember that, this is just a snapshot of one hour, this does not include each and every tweet. But gives us a  quick picture of the story.

Feb 9, 2013

Activity on #Shahbag in Twitter: the people, what they are talking, what they are sharing. Part 1

As the movement of Bangladeshis is gaining its momentum, more and more Bangladeshis are using social network services like Twitter and Facebook to discuss about the movement, sharing videos, organizing events regarding this movement.

For last three days I am collecting the tweets and the Twitter networks of the people who are Twitting with the hashtag #Shahbag. And many of the tweets are from very new users, those people joined Twitter with the spirit to share the words, to tell the world how they feel about this movement, I could see that they still do not have any profile picture, so Twitter used the default 'egg' icon for their profile pictures. Twitter might notice that how an event like this can increase their user base.

At the end of the day in Feb7, I drew this Twitter network using the Social network analysis tool called NodeXL:
Not that big, few people, and not many tweets, but let's see what happened the next day:
Now we have so many people that I had to use some encoding to keep all the people in the image, so I resized their profile icons: if they tweeted more, I made their icons bigger, and they are also in the middle. If they tweeted less, their profile icon in the image got smaller. And you also see the links between the people: these links indicate that they either retwewted, replied or mentioned each other. So, when A retweets his friend B's tweet, it draws an arrow from A to B.

But, now as you already guessed, there are more participation, more tweets, more people. Today when I pulled the data of all these people, I noticed that the graph looked like a hairball, so I tried to organize the people and their Twitter activity by groups. How is that ? Some people know each other personally or follow each other on Twitter, they reply to their Twitter friends, mention them and retweets each others' tweets, so they are connected with links. For example, you can retweet our friends' tweets,  reshare the URL they share in Twitter. And  your other followers also reshare or retweet the things you tweet or share. So now we all get connected this way. We will notice that now small clusters are formed within all those users. This is waht I got after making the groups of people who are more connected together (Fe 9th, 2013). And inside each group we can see one or two prominent people who are more active within their own group, so they are basically leading their group by creating more useful content that their friends are resharing or retweeting.

Also today's top most shared URL in Twitter regarding the #shahbag movement are as here: