Many of Chicago’s Aldermen, and certainly the Mayor, have adopted Twitter. Using all the tweets they posted, and all those posted by others who mentioned them, I was able to make the following graph of Chicago’s politicians on Twitter.
In this image, orange discs are Mayor Emanuel’s two Twitter accounts, blue discs are Aldermen’s accounts, and gray discs are neither (I want to say constituents, but I can’t assume all are). The opacity and weight of the lines connecting them depend on how often the two people talk about or to each other on Twitter. The size of the discs is determined by their in-degree, or how often someone talks about them. We see that two Aldermen figure prominently in the social media conversation, and both respond to people pretty frequently (outgoing arrows). What this means yet, I’m not sure, but it may indicate something about the responsiveness of politicians. The next step is to determine whether any of the properties we can identify in the network relate to things in the real world, e.g., voting behavior, responsiveness, public approval.
Jahna Otterbacher, Matt Shaprio, and I just received funding from IIT’s Social Network Workshop to continue our study of politicians and social media use, so stay tuned.