Twitter Turns To Researchers To Improve Conversations

Twitter Turns To Researchers To Improve Conversations

The social media platform Twitter is reportedly working in collaboration with two groups of academic researchers to help them measure the health of conversation that is taking place on the platform.

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The social media platform Twitter is reportedly working in collaboration with two groups of academic researchers to help them measure the health of conversation that is taking place on the platform.

As recently reported in the online space, Twitter lost 1 million users but has also posted $100 million in profit, according to Tech Crunch that wrote about the updates related to Twitter in several news articles.

Still, it`s clear that the social media company needs to make some adjustments in light of these numbers, as well as other happenings in the social media world like the recent Facebook hearings and problems with the lacking growth of users.

Perhaps, that`s what prompted Twitter to call for proposals from researchers to see how they might approach the issue of analytics around the types and manner of conversations on Twitter.

These proposals were reviewed by employees of the company from different departments, including Engineering, Product, Machine Learning, Data Science, Trust and Safety, as well as Legal and Research. Furthermore, Twitter says that that the review committee was organized in a way that foresees the inclusion of representatives from diverse groups across the company.

After completing the review process, the company has reportedly formed two research teams that will focus on two different problems.

The work of team 1

The first team will be led by scholars from Leiden University and will look into how echo chambers form ad their effect, as well as the difference between incivility and intolerance within the conversations that are being realized on Twitter. The team consists of experts from universities across Europe, namely Dr. Rebekah Tromble, Assistant Professor of Political Science at Leiden University, Dr. Michael Meffert at Leiden, Dr. Patricia Rossini and Dr. Jennifer Stromer-Galley at Syracuse University, Dr. Nava Tintarev at  Delft University of Technology, and Dr. Dirk Hovy at Bocconi University.

The team has found in past research that echo chambers can cause hostility and promote resentment towards those that don`t have the same conversation. The first set of metrics that are being researched by the team will look at the extent to which people acknowledge and engage with diverse viewpoints on Twitter. On the other hand, the second set of metrics will look at the difference between incivility and intolerance. The academics plan to develop algorithms that will distinguish between more useful incivility and the useless intolerance we are being exposed to on Twitter.

The work of team 2

The second team is seeing the participation of Professor Miles Hewstone and John Gallacher at The University of Oxford, and Marc Heerdink at the University of Amsterdam. Their work will plan to extend the work of Hewstone who studies inter-group conflict. The current findings from this study show that when conversation contains more positive sentiments, cooperative emotions, and more complex thinking, then the prejudice can be removed from it.

Similar to other social networks, Twitter is a place, where conversations are constantly circulating. Utilizing the power of the academic community is an excellent step towards improving the quality of conversation.

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