Information Diffusion: A Study of Twitter During Large Scale Events

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The diffusion of information through population affects how and when the public reacts in various situations. Thus, it is important to understand how and at what speed important information spreads. Social media platforms are important to track and understand such diffusion. Twitter provides a convenient and effective way to measure it. This study used data obtained from 15,000 Twitter users. Data was collected on the following events: Hurricane Irene, Hurricane Sandy, Osama Bin Laden's capture, and the United States' 2012 Presidential Election. Information such as the time of a tweet, the user name, content, and the ID was analyzed to measure the diffusion of information and track the trajectory of retweets. The spread of information was visualized and analyzed to determine how far and how fast the information spread. The results show how information spreads and the content analysis of data sets indicate the importance of different topics to users.