Drawing from a corpus of over 50 million Russian-language tweets collected between for a year until March 2011, this US paper creates a network map of 10,285 users comprising the ‘discussion core,’ 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 Russian Twitter features a great deal of activity generated by marketing campaigns and search engine optimization (SEO) initiatives, including both automated and coordinated human actors.
After our initial mapping resulted in a network dominated by these ‘instrumental’ actors, we constructed a filter to limit their presence in the network and discover relationships among a wider variety of ‘organic’ actors. 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 Weblog 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.