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Ronggui,

You might look at this one:

Playing in the Same Twitter Network: Political information seeking in
the 2010 US gubernatorial elections
Itai Himelboim, Derek Hansen & Anne Bowser
http://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1080/1369118X.2012.706316#.UZJSTLXijK0

A reasonable approach to understanding what a "Follow" relationship
means is to consider it from the perspective of the person following
the another account. When doing so, it quickly becomes clear that
there are many factors at play. For example, it's clear that if I
follow some account I am "aware" of it (though there are some accounts
I don't follow that I'm aware of, so this is only part of the story).
If I'm an active user who actually reads Tweets that come to my stream
then I follow accounts so that I can receive information from them
(i.e., "information flow"). Finally, since my Follow network is
public, there is a sense in which I may Follow accounts of
organizations that I tend to agree with or at least that wouldn't
reflect poorly on my "identity". In some yet-to-be-published work Jen
Golbeck and I have some evidence that, on average, people tend to
follow politicians who they agree with (as opposed to those who they
don't agree with), perhaps for all of the reasons listed above or some
subset of them.

I agree with Bruno that Re-tweet and Mention networks are more
indicative of active connections between people. Inevitably, the
follow networks are much more dense than those networks (as you can
see on many of Marc Smith's Eventgraphs: e.g.,
http://www.nodexlgraphgallery.org/Pages/Graph.aspx?graphID=4569 )

Great question, and one that I'd love someone to tackle directly
through some interviews and/or survey research about why people follow
others - though I haven't looked for such an article, so I suppose it
may already exist...

Derek Hansen
Brigham Young University

On Tue, May 14, 2013 at 8:29 AM, Bruno Goncalves <[log in to unmask]> wrote:
> ***** To join INSNA, visit http://www.insna.org *****
> Dear Dr. Huang,
>
> This paper might be of interest to you:
>
> Partisan Asymmetries in Online Political Activity
> M. Conover, B. Gonçalves, A. Flammini, F. Menczer
> EPJ Data Science 1, 6 (2012)
> http://www.bgoncalves.com/component/jdownloads/finish/3/38.html
>
>
> In this paper (and a couple others that you can find here:
> http://www.bgoncalves.com/publications.html ) we look at the
> follower-followee, retweet and mention networks and find that the retweet
> network is the most informative if you are trying to cluster users according
> to their political leanings (or activity, or collaboration, etc...) since a
> retweet implies a stronger connection (agreement) than just following or
> mentioning.
>
> Best,
>
> Bruno
>
>
> *******************************************
> Bruno Miguel Tavares Gonçalves, PhD
> Homepage: www.bgoncalves.com
> Email: [log in to unmask]
> *******************************************
>
>
> On Tue, May 14, 2013 at 3:05 PM, Ronggui Huang <[log in to unmask]>
> wrote:
>>
>> ***** To join INSNA, visit http://www.insna.org *****
>> Dear all,
>>
>> I am trying to understanding the structure of a twitter follower network
>> among a group of NGOs, and want to get an appropriate interpretation of the
>> content of network ties (besides the literal interpretation of follower
>> network or friendship network). Do anyone come across relevant papers on
>> such interpretation?
>>
>> Thanks very much in advance!
>>
>> Wincent Ronggui HUANG
>> Sociology Department of Fudan University
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