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Digital Humanities

A social network analysis of Twitter: Mapping the digital humanities community: Cogent Arts & Humanities: Vol 3, No 1

Defining digital humanities might be an endless debate if we stick to the discussion about the boundaries of this concept as an academic “discipline”. In an attempt to concretely identify this field and its actors, this paper shows that it is possible to analyse them through Twitter, a social media widely used by this “community of practice”. Based on a network analysis of 2,500 users identified as members of this movement, the visualisation of the “who’s following who?” graph allows us to highlight the structure of the network’s relationships, and identify users whose position is particular. Specifically, we show that linguistic groups are key factors to explain clustering within a network whose characteristics look similar to a small world.

Additional information

Author information

Martin Grandjean

Martin Grandjean is a researcher in intellectual history at the University of Lausanne (Switzerland). He studies the structuration of scientific networks in the interwar period and develops network analysis and visualisation methods for archives and texts. Specialised in data visualisation, he leads parallel experiments in the fields of data-driven journalism, open data and social media analysis. He’s member of the board of Humanistica, the French-speaking digital humanities association.

Funding

Funding. The author received no direct funding for this research.

Acknowledgements

Martin Grandjean is thankful to Vincent Barbay (Ecole Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne) for his help in the data recovery and processing and to Etienne Guilloud (Université de Lausanne) for his help correcting his English. The idea to analyse this kind of data-sets was initiated with Yannick Rochat (Ecole Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne) during the Pegasus Data works in 2012. Grandjean is also thankful to Frédéric Clavert (Université de Lausanne) and Olivier Le Deuff (Université Bordeaux Montaigne) for exchanging about the French position.

Source: A social network analysis of Twitter: Mapping the digital humanities community: Cogent Arts & Humanities: Vol 3, No 1