Twitter linguistics yet another a window into human nature in surprising ways

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Contrary to commonly held belief that users simply want to share everything with everyone on social media, a new study reveals that Twitter users are forming ‘tribes’ with their own languages, according to The Guardian. 

Analysis of a substantial number of Tweets was done by academics at Royal Holloway, University of Londonand Princeton University. According to the joint article published on the journal of EPJ Data Science, a relationship between human communication and social networks can be seen, which suggests the interaction between language use and human society. 

What this all boils down to is the theory that we will be able to identify emerging social groups and classify a hierarchy of online communities in social networks based on their use of key words.  For example, ‘Tbr’ can be used to identify fans of comics and novels; ‘Avn’ can be traced to Twitter users sharing and discussing pornography; ‘Melb’ are Australian users, while users who tweet ‘Alterra’ are related to University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee community.

The largest community found was African Americans using the words ‘Nigga’, ‘poppin’ and ‘chillin’, which comprises about 90% of messages within their group. Members in this community also tend to shorten the endings of their words, replacing ‘ing’ with ‘in’ or ‘er’ with ‘a’, according to The Guardian

For individuals who used Twitter extensively and tweet a lot of text, the level of accuracy is even up to 80%, Science Omega quoted Dr. John Bryden, project leader and postdoctoral research assistant.

Similar to previous findings about Facebook, this study also confirms social media’s ability to disclose one’s personal information and identity, such as race, nationality, hobbies, political orientation, and even religion, according to Science Omega

So, on one hand, the inclusion of keywords in the tweets on social media may help users engage more effective with their community and groups. On the other hand, however, though sometimes unconsciously and unwittingly, this private information might be exploited by marketers and advertisers, and also lead to the problem of online privacy violation.

Image: Guardian

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This entry was posted in Advertising, brand marketing, Facebook, group, identity, Marketing, online advertising, privacy, Social media, Twitter. Bookmark the permalink.

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