Evaluating tie strength from Twitter data in conference setting: Case CMAD
Gupta, Jayesh Prakash
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The concept of tie strength as well as the different kind of ties- strong and weak ties was introduced by Granovetter in his seminal paper titled “Strength of Weak Ties”. Over the decades, this concept has been used in a variety of fields to study a lot of different phenomena. In the recent years, the rise of social media and social networking services has given rise to new ways of maintaining and establishing ties. This has resulted in studies that have used personal social media data to predict the tie strength of these online relationships. Social media is also being used in events like conferences for networking purposes. In this study we evaluate the tie strength and identify different kind of ties using publically available Twitter data in the context setting of a conference. In order to address the formulated research problem, this study began by reviewing the relevant literature related to tie strength, social media and conference setting. From the literature review it was observed that: communication frequency was the most commonly used proxy for tie strength evaluation; social media was used for networking in conferences; and current methods of tie strength evaluation from social media use personal social media data which may not be accessible in case of conferences. The empirical study used the single-case based case of CMAD which is community managers’ online discussions in social media in connection to yearly-organized Community Manager Appreciation Day event in Finland. Two different data sources (survey data and Twitter data) were used to carry out the analysis. Different social network analysis methods were used to analyze the case. Based on the analysis, it was possible to identify potentially useful dimensions (e.g. amount of time, reciprocal services and structural factors) and measures (e.g. weighted degree, shortest path length) for evaluating tie strength in the context of events. These measures were useful in identifying to a useful extent the strong ties and the potential weak ties in the context of this study.