Astrophysicists’ conversational connections on Twitter
Article [Version of Record]
Is part ofPLoS one ; vol. 9, no. 8.
Publisher(s)Public Library of Science
Because Twitter and other social media are increasingly used for analyses based on altmetrics, this research sought to understand what contexts, affordance use, and social activities influence the tweeting behavior of astrophysicists. Thus, the presented study has been guided by three research questions that consider the influence of astrophysicists’ activities (i.e., publishing and tweeting frequency) and of their tweet construction and affordance use (i.e. use of hashtags, language, and emotions) on the conversational connections they have on Twitter. We found that astrophysicists communicate with a variety of user types (e.g. colleagues, science communicators, other researchers, and educators) and that in the ego networks of the astrophysicists clear groups consisting of users with different professional roles can be distinguished. Interestingly, the analysis of noun phrases and hashtags showed that when the astrophysicists address the different groups of very different professional composition they use very similar terminology, but that they do not talk to each other (i.e. mentioning other user names in tweets). The results also showed that in those areas of the ego networks that tweeted more the sentiment of the tweets tended to be closer to neutral, connecting frequent tweeting with information sharing activities rather than conversations or expressing opinions.