Whenever you put messages out over a communications channel, you ideally have some idea of what your audience is interested in. As @stuartbrown pointed out to me yesterday, if folk are following (and continue to follow) the @openuniversity Twitter account, you at least know (or hope!) that they have an interest in what the @openunivirsity is tweeting about. But if we’re trying to profile @openuniversity followers as part of a particular campaign, such as supporting commissioning of OU/BBC co-pro content intended to have some sort of Twitter engagement strategy around it (I’m not saying this is on the cards, just imagining), then it makes sense to me at least that we should have some idea about what the other interests of @openuniversity followers are…?
…which is why I think there may be signal in looking at the folk followed in large numbers by folk who follow the @openuniversity Twitter account…
So here’s a quick snapshot of who 20 or more of a random sample of 1000 followers of @openuniversity follow on Twitter:
There are several grouping s evident: UK HE accounts (top left), US HE accounts (bottom left), BBC/UK news, culture, politics (12 o’clock), comedians and DJs (top right), music and celebrities (south east), international news/tech (south).
For comparison purposes, here’s a quick map generated under similar conditions for @edgehill:
Again, there are UK and US HE account clusters, as well as a celebrity grouping, but reflecting the situated nature of Edge Hill (compared to the distributed nature of the OU), we can also see a Liverpool cluster top left…
Note that I know these images are hard to read/not laid out very clearly/don’t offer an interactive zoom. If you want to see a proper detailed view/map, you’ll have to request the files from me and fire up Gephi or NodeXL yourself ;-)
If anything, what I’m trying to find out is whether these sorts of map might be useful, rather than just ‘interesting’ (and maybe they’re not even that!), and if so how? (That is, what might they cause to be done or cause to be done differently?)