Twitter is an important and influential social media platform, but much research into its uses remains centred around isolated cases – e.g. of events in political communication, crisis communication, or popular culture, often coordinated by shared hashtags (brief keywords, prefixed with the symbol ‘#’). In particular, a lack of standard metrics for comparing communicative patterns across cases prevents researchers from developing a more comprehensive perspective on the diverse, sometimes crucial roles which hashtags play in Twitter-based communication. We address this problem by outlining a catalogue of widely applicable, standardised metrics for analysing Twitter-based communication, with particular focus on hashtagged exchanges. We also point to potential uses for such metrics, presenting an indication of what broader comparisons of diverse cases can achieve.
Axel Bruns and Stefan Stieglitz. “Towards More Systematic Twitter Analysis: Metrics for Tweeting Activities.” International Journal of Social Research Methodology 22 Jan. 2013. DOI: 10.1080/13645579.2012.756095.