In my research of large Twitter data sets, I have been regularly studying trending topics. Most of the time, trending topics encourage monologic behavior on Twitter. For example, see the relatively monologic network graph below of #ThreeWordsSheWantsToHear (a hashtag which warrants serious critical, dialogic engagement of gender issues).
I have been investigating the #accidentalracist hashtag from this past Monday (April 8, 2013). The hashtag formed in response to the new Brad Paisley and LL Cool J song titled ‘Accidental Racist’ (video below).
The Huffington Post labeled the song ‘a controversial one, to say the least’ and features the singer donning a Confederate flag. Forbes observed that the song set ‘off a firestorm on social media’.
Given the controversial nature of this hashtag, I was curious whether the tag was encouraging monologic or more dialogic behavior. It turns out that the 1504 tweets I sampled (from 9:56 p.m. to 11:18 p.m. UTC on April 8, 2013) actually exhibited far more interaction than one would expect in a trending topic-based network. Take a look at the social network analysis map below and let me know your thoughts!
And, as @sociographie, mentioned in a Twitter chat we had, it is important not to solely prioritize relationships in a network graph of trending topics. That is why I have retained isolates. Below, you can also find some aggregate information on the tweets.