If you’re in the market for a new computer, smartphone, or tablet, the chances are you’ll immediately go and ask the internet for it’s opinion. In technological matters, this is usually a smart course of action, as the internet is filled with hordes of well-meaning nerds all too keen to enlighten you as to what’s the hottest commodity of the moment. More often than not, they’re completely correct.
But have you ever wondered where the nerds get their info from? Well, we have. In the olden days of the bronze-age internet, the answer was usually UseNet, but we’ve come a long way since then. Today, the hub for online information dispersal is Twitter, the world’s most used and fastest growing social network. Of course, it’s easy to see where individual tweets originate on Twitter, and a glance can show you how many followers somebody has, but how do you tell the impact that each individual feed has on the overall technological landscape? We can show you how, and we even have visual aids.
As you can see from this infographic, each of the top ten feeds has an overall “score” measuring its influence, which doesn’t exactly correspond to the number of followers, or to the number of tweets per day. Although these are important factors in determining the overall influence, more things have to be considered. How relevant is the feed in terms of search results, both on Google and Twitter? How often are links followed through from this feed in comparison to others? How long has the feed been in use for? We also need to account in such a study for spam feeds, whose heavy but meaningless output would drastically distort the picture we wish to present.
By taking all of these factors into account, along with others, we can actually put a number on the overall “influence factor” which each feed has over technological discourse on Twitter. Since Twitter is usually the centre of information circulation and curation online, this means that the higher a feed’s twitter influence score, the higher the chance is that a comment, opinion, or device originally featured on this feed has become popular with the public at large.
Being able to calculate information in this fashion is certainly of huge value to both tech manufacturers and marketers alike, as it determines which feed operators they can expect to see a high return from if they decide to send them sample products. It also represents a potentially invaluable source to consumers, because more trusted sites are more likely to return the most relevant information, allowing you to easily cut out the middlemen. It will also help you to have some idea of why and how particular devices, software types, and processes are becoming popular at any given time. For example, this information is very helpful for those of us consumers who are looking for a new tablet, but who are not sure whether a Lenovo, Samsung, or Apple tablet would be the best for them; these sources have proved to provide trustworthy and relevant advice. While it certainly can’t explain everything about how opinion is formed on the internet, it’s certainly a good start.