Text in social networking Web sites: A word frequency analysis of Live Spaces

Mike Thelwall


Social networking sites are owned by a wide section of society and seem to dominate Web usage. Despite much research into this phenomenon, little systematic data is available. This article partially fills this gap with a pilot text analysis of one social networking site, Live Spaces. The text in 3,071 English language Live Spaces sites was monitored daily for six months and word frequency statistics calculated and compared with those from the British National Corpus. The results confirmed the existence of common domain-specific words and a marked personal focus. Unexpectedly, however, there was no evidence of an unusual degree of experimentation with new words or word spellings – perhaps this behaviour is limited to other social networking environments. Also surprising was the existence of a marked male gender bias in the most commonly used words. This was probably caused by a significant number of news-related discussions involving predominantly male politicians and other male public figures.

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DOI: https://doi.org/10.5210/fm.v13i2.2117

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