Import from Twitter Search Network - a mistaken interpretation of RTs?

Jul 23, 2011 at 12:33 PM

Dear all,

I've been experimenting with NodeXL for a few days, and I may (or may not) have found an issue in the Import from Twitter Search Network feature.

I imported 100 users' tweets containing "restart" with "Replies-to", "Mentions" and a Tweet column in the Edges worksheet. As I browsed through the results I found the following line:

Vertex1      || Vertex2       || Relationship|| Tweet
billsspiritx  || billokaulitzt || Mentions || RT @BilloKaulitzT: When you love someone, and they break your heart, Don’t give up on love, have faith, restart.

The corresponding vertex shows an arrow pointing towards @billokaulitz (@billsspiritx ------>@billokaulitz), which may be interpreted as a direct influence of @billsspiritx on @billokaulitz or of @billsspiritx affecting @billokaulitz. I may have misunderstood the interpretation (please, let me know if I did so), but it seems wrong.

Given that Twitter allows a user to freely add other profiles to his folowees list, @billsspiritx and @billokaulitz may be in no relationship (friends, acquaintances etc.) at all. @billsspiritx may have just done a seach for the keyword "restart" and decided to forward a tweet he found interesting. Either way @billokaulitz definitely seems to have (in)directly influenced @billsspiritx so as to have his tweet forwarded.

If my interpretation is correct, the graph should show a vertex with the arrow pointing towards @billsspiritx (@billokaulitz -----> @billsspiritx) and the Edges worksheet should show the following configuration:

Vertex1      || Vertex2       || Relationship|| Tweet
billokaulitzt  || billsspiritx || Mentions || RT @BilloKaulitzT: When you love someone, and they break your heart, Don’t give up on love, have faith, restart.

What do you think?

Jose Araujo

Jul 23, 2011 at 6:50 PM
Edited Jul 23, 2011 at 8:30 PM

Hello, Jose:

NodeXL doesn't use the concept of a "direct influence" relationship in the Twitter Search Network.  Instead, it pays attention only to "replies-to" and "mentions" relationships.  In the example you've given, billsspiritx mentioned billokaulitzt in his tweet, so there is a mentions relationship between billsspiritx and billokaulitzt.  The arrow pointing from billsspiritx towards billokaulitzt indicates that billsspiritx was the mentioner and billokaulitzt was the mentioned one.  (If you look through the edge list there should also be a Replies-To row for the same tweet, because the tweet is also a reply-to.)

So I think the problem is in your interpretation.  "Direct influence" may be a relevant concept in the greater Twitter universe, but it's not one that NodeXL knows anything about.

-- Tony

Jul 23, 2011 at 8:46 PM

Hi, Tony.

Thanks for your reply and for the explanation.

Your team may like to know that NodeXL has a lot of users here in Brazil.


Jul 23, 2011 at 9:21 PM

That's good to hear!  I'll let the team members know that.

-- Tony