Twitter mapping ‘polarized groups”

Twitter mapping ‘polarized groups”
February 10, 2015 David Spindler

I’ve never had a full on conversation using Twitter with one of my followers about some big heavy discussion involving politics. After reading a PEW Research Center report about Mapping Twitter, I realized just how cluttered and polarized crowds can be when Twitter users grouped in community clusters” discuss certain topics, mainly politics.

Twitter has six distinct communication networks: Polarized crowds, Tight crowds, Brand clusters, Community clusters, Broadcast networks, and Support networks. I chose “polarized crowds” because I found it to be more interesting and simple on certain topics like politics for instance.

According to the article on Mapping Twitter, polarized crowds are two big dense groups that have very little connection between them. The topics discussed are intense heated political subjects and surprisingly a lot of the polarized crowds on Twitter are not arguing, mainly because they are focused on the same subject. There is very little conversation between the two groups;  they ignore one another while pointing out different web resources and making up new hashtags.

The thing I find interesting about hashtags when using Twitter is that chances are no matter what hashtag you create, someone else will have the same exact hashtag which is how conversations, favorited tweets etc. get grouped together in a divine structure to make it easier for twitter followers to follow along and tweet.


If a topic is political, its common to see two separated, polarized crowds take form into two distinct discussion groups. Often there are recognized as liberal or conservative groups that don’t interact with each other. Those participating in each group use different website URLs and hashtags. At the center of both groups are discussion leaders who are the prominent people often mentioned in the discussion. Participants pay very close attention to political issues and news.

I think its possible that these kinds of social structures involving these Twitter conversations says something meaningful about our changing society.

As Pew pointed out, the social networking mapped out in these conversations provides new insights, inspiring followers to express their own opinions on Twitter where politics lends itself to such discussions.


David Spindler
A runner, skier, and biker, David Spindler is a senior majoring in journalism and minoring in film. He has a passion for photography and creative writing. David brings a variety of skills to Extreme including video, photo, and writing. The kind of reporting he likes to write about is entertainment, story features, and current events. While not hard at work, David is continuing to improve on his running distance. He has run both the Midnight Sun Run and the Equinox Marathon twice so far.


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