Studying Twitter’s Biggest Story

Scott Robertson: Posted on Friday, April 27, 2012 10:51 AM

A recent UPI article discusses how researchers at Georgia Tech are studying one of Twitter’s biggest stories of the past year, the death of Osama bin Laden on May 1, 2011 to see how word spread across the social network.  Really fascinating stuff.

The part that jumps out at me is the the first person to break the news was an aide of Sec. of Defense Donald Rumsfeld, quickly followed by CBS and the NYT, which gave the story more digital legs long before TV news could catch up.

“We believe Twitter was so quick to trust the rumors because of who sent the first few tweets,” Hu (one of the researchers) said. “They came from reputable sources. Twitter saw their credentials and quickly believed the news was true.”

So it seems that the reputation of the sender can be a big-time determining factor of whether a news story is believed or not, and thus passed along.  Yet another reason while building and defending reputation through public relations is critical for businesses of all sizes.