Research on Twitter and friendships

I’m a grad research student focusing on social media for my final thesis. So it’s time for me to move on from boobs to my next adventure. (I know, I know… we loved the boobs.)

Anyway, my next project will be on relationship/friendship/connection strength on Twitter. My impression is that the strength of the ‘relationships’ (for want of a better word) forged on Twitter is as strong (if not more so) as those which are begun in real life.


These Twitter relationships, built over time in 140 characters or less, lead people to expressing genuine concern for other members of the community, both on Twitter as well as leading to IRL. This genuine concern leads to things such as offers of employment; support during times of grief, stress and celebration; connections for people who find it more difficult to connect in real life due to shyness or geography; and probably heaps more.

I’d love to gain a pile of Twitterers who would be willing to help me with this research paper. I would imagine it would just involve an in-depth survey where I ask you some questions. This could definitely be done online and before you answered it I’d like you to think about the connections you have made on Twitter, how important to you they are, and what sort of level of concern you have for the others. Consider things like do you think of yourself as part of a community? A family? How many strong connections you have? etc. Your responses would be completely anonymous.

If you’re willing to be involved, just comment below with your Twitter name and I’ll let you know when it’s ready to go – probably in about 2 or 3 weeks time. Alternatively, DM me on Twitter (@mediamum)!

8 responses to “Research on Twitter and friendships

  1. Sure! Hit me up!

    And for the record, I ❀ my Twitter/Blog peeps. They have changed my life in ways you can’t even imagine πŸ™‚

  2. I’d be happy to participate, though I must warn you that my input will likely be opposing your thesis.

    • Excellent! I’m keen for the hypothesis to be tested. Don’t really care about the outcome… it will just indicate need for further research which all researchers are happy about because it keeps them going….

  3. Sounds like a great project, I’d be happy to help with the survey.

    As Larry mentioned on Twitter, I can also offer technical advice on more quantitative analysis if that’s needed, using tools like my

    As a sample, your network is here:

    • Hi Pete – that’s fabulous. Thanks so much for the offer! I definitely will want to touch base with you on what can actually be quantitatively discovered as I develop some particular areas (eg: Can we track everyone who RTs a particular thing? and What can we identify about hashtags?)

  4. @tcabeen
    Loved your presentation at igniteboulder3, and more for the actual information presented than anything (though the visuals certainly kept it entertaining).
    Would definitely be interested in seeing where this research goes.

    • Thank you so much Terry! I had so much fun doing it. πŸ™‚ Who knows, this one might end up an Ignite proposal too (in 6 months’ time).

  5. I’d love to help. I’m fairly new to Twitter and so far I’d say that the jury is out for me. πŸ™‚

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