The Berkman Center is pleased to announce the next publication in its series of papers on the Russian Internet: “Mapping Russian Twitter” By John Kelly, Vladimir Barash, Karina Alexanyan, Bruce Etling, Robert Faris, Urs Gasser, and John Palfrey
Using methods similar to our studies of the Persian, Arabic and Russian
blogospheres, this paper shares the results of a large-scale social
network analysis of Russian Twitter, with a focus on political users.
This work was made possible thanks to the generous support of the John
D. & Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation.
Drawing from a corpus of over 50 Million Russian language tweets
collected between March 2010 and March 2011, the research team created a network map of 10,285 users comprising the ‘discussion core’ of Russian Twitter, and clustered them based on a combination of network
features. The resulting segmentation revealed key online constituencies active in Russian Twitter. The major topical groupings in Russian
Twitter include: Political, Instrumental, CIS Regional, Technology, and
Music. There are also several clusters centered on Russian regions,
which is significant given the limited reach of the Internet in the
regions outside of Moscow and St. Petersburg. Similar to the Russian
blogosphere, the Twitter network includes a democratic opposition
cluster associated with Gary Kasparov and the opposition Solidarity
movement. In other respects the political clusters identified in blogs
and Twitter networks display interesting variation. Nationalists, who
are very active in Russian blogs, do not appear to be organized in
Russian Twitter (at least as of March 2011). Conversely, pro-Putin
youth groups like the Young Guards and Nashi, and elected officials
allied with them, have a distinct Twitter footprint.