Tuesday, February 8, 2011
You Tweet, I Tweet, We All Tweet...The Same?
Think Twitter and other social media networks would cause people all over the world to start talking in the exact same way? Not so, say researchers from Carnegie Mellon University. In fact, the opposite may be true: Regional differences may even be finding space to evolve within Twitter.
Carnegie Mellon computer scientist Jacob Eisenstein and his colleagues looked for geotagged tweets – messages that were marked with their tweeter’s location. They collected one week’s worth of messages in March 2010 from people who tweeted at least 20 times during that week. That gave them a whopping 380,000 tweets from 9,500 users.
The researchers found that well-known regionalisms were thriving on Twitter. Northern Californians used “hella” to mean “very” or “a lot,” and Pittsburgh residents used “yinz” to mean “you guys.” (Southerners, naturally, tended toward “y’all.”)