Making Sense of the Twitter Network of @PaulMasonNews

Recently I tweeted a network graph and report of Paul Mason (writer, broadcaster, film-maker, and recent author of Postcapitalism: A Guide to Our Future). However, these graphs can be difficult to understand without interpretation. In this blog post I will outline some of the key takeaways from the analysis.

The graph has been created by searching Twitter for all mentions of “paulmasonnews”, or who were replied to or mentioned in those tweets, taken from a data set limited to a maximum of 18,000 tweets. The tweets in the entire network were tweeted over the 10-day, 0-hour, 25-minute period from Friday, 10 November 2017 at 17:07 UTC to Monday, 20 November 2017 at 17:33 UTC. The full graph gallery version of the graph can be found here.

The network graph below has clustered Twitter discussion into a number of different groups. The largest group (labelled G1) on the top left is a densely populated group and it contains Paul’s account in the middle, and shows that Paul’s account receives a large number of replies when he tweets.  The discussion is extremely varied in this group.

There are a number of other groups which suggests that discussion around Paul account spans a number of different topics. Group 2 (labelled G2), bottom left revolved around Paul’s tweet  on the Guardian article Labour vows to factor climate change into economic forecasts. 

Another interesting group is  Group 7 (labeled G7) which is an isolates group. This shows that there are a number of Twitter users not connected to one another that are sharing content related to Paul and/or quoting and replying to tweets.

The bottom right of the graph shows a number of smaller discussions taking place in great volume which demonstrates that there are small communities of Twitter users discussing content from Paul’s account.

Figure 1 – Network graph of Paul Mason News 

PM News.png


Overall Paul’s Twitter account continues to be influential across a number of different domains. We can look at some of the statistics associated with the graph such as the top 5 most shared URLs which were:

  1. The most popular URL shared on 740 occasions was a link to a tweet by Paul on the Guardian article Labour vows to factor climate change into economic forecasts. 
  2. The second most popular URL ‘Dear BBC…’ was  a tweet shared on 243 occasions
  3. The third most shared URL was a tweet by Paul shared on 33 occasions ‘I’m at the Roter Salon…’
  4. The fourth most popular URL was shared 29 occasions and was a link to Paul’s page for Channel 4  News on an article from 2014 titled  How did the first world war actually end?
  5. The fifth most shared URL is a link to a blog post published on Emma Dent Coad’s blog in 2010 titled ‘This is my posh voice’ – local boy done good, or, nostalgie de la boue?

There are further interesting aspects to the graph, and some of these are summarized below:

  • The most popular domain overall in the graph was Twitter (with 2638 URLs) suggesting that Paul’s tweets themselves are quoted and shared often.  The second most popular URL was to Channel 4 News (with 29 URLs).
  • The top hashtag overall was #propaganda with a total of 378 mentions in Paul’s network, and the keyword appeared across the network. This could be because a number of  different users were tagging Paul and using this hashtag. For instance this example. Other users were noting how Paul had broken out of the propaganda by the mainstream media.
  • Owen Jones is an influential user within Paul’s network with a high betweeness centrality score. This suggests Owen may have a different set of followers than Paul.


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