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Yes, RTs are important Twitter links, as are @ tweets (conversations) on Twitter.  IMHO, looking at follower/following is useless at best, misleading at worst -- so many false followers.  Remember GIGO.

Conversations can often be captured in specific twitter chats on topics that attract those of similar interests.  Here is a quick SNA I did of a conversation on "serendipity" amongst those interested in "innovation".  This is just a quick peek at the group as it was structured on that day and on that topic.  (I have more data on this group and will do a more in-depth look at some future date).

Of course, this was not the only convo on serendipity on Twitter, and many who had an interest in this topic did not know the convo was going on.  


I would look on Twitter where your NGO groups are active... do they partake in Twitter Chats?  If so, do not do your own data gathering... Twitter only provides limited data via their API.  Find an organization that gets data from the Twitter "fire hose" (all of the data).  I have used Socialping, Inc.  and was happy with their timeliness and competence. Then they can filter the data with your list of NGOs ... looking for @ conversations, RTs, MTs, and HTs.  This should give you a good first draft to start with.

Good Luck!

Valdis Krebs

On May 14, 2013, at 10:29 AM, Bruno Goncalves wrote:

In this paper (and a couple others that you can find here: ) 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.

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