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Gatekeeping Twitter: Message diffusion in political hashtags

Bastos, B., Raimundo, R. & Travitzki, R. (2013). Gatekeeping Twitter: Message diffusion in political hashtags. Media, Culture & Society, 35(2), pp. 260-270. doi: 10.1177/0163443712467594


This article explores the structure of gatekeeping in Twitter by means of a statistical analysis of the political hashtags #FreeIran, #FreeVenezuela and #Jan25, each of which reached the top position in Twitter Trending Topics. We performed a statistical correlation analysis on nine variables of the dataset to evaluate if message replication in Twitter political hashtags was correlated with network topology. Our results suggest an alternative scenario to the dominant view regarding gatekeeping in Twitter political hashtags. Instead of depending on hubs that act as gatekeepers, we found that the intense activity of individuals with relatively few connections is capable of generating highly replicated messages that contributed to Trending Topics without relying on the activity of user hubs. The results support the thesis of social consensus through the influence of committed minorities, which states that a prevailing majority opinion in a population can be rapidly reversed by a small fraction of randomly distributed committed agents.

Publication Type: Article
Additional Information: © 2013 The Author(s). © 2013 SAGE.
Publisher Keywords: communication theory, #FreeIran, #FreeVenezuela, gatekeeping, hashtags, internet, #Jan25, network theory, Twitter, two-step flow theory
Subjects: H Social Sciences > H Social Sciences (General)
Departments: School of Communication & Creativity > Journalism
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