Social networks that matter: Twitter under the microscope


  • Bernardo Huberman Hewlett Packard Laboratories
  • Daniel M Romero Cornell University
  • Fang Wu Social Computing Lab, HP Labs



social networks, attention, twitter


Scholars, advertisers and political activists see massive online social networks as a representation of social interactions that can be used to study the propagation of ideas, social bond dynamics and viral marketing, among others. But the linked structures of social networks do not reveal actual interactions among people. Scarcity of attention and the daily rythms of life and work makes people default to interacting with those few that matter and that reciprocate their attention. A study of social interactions within Twitter reveals that the driver of usage is a sparse and hidden network of connections underlying the “declared” set of friends and followers.

Author Biographies

Bernardo Huberman, Hewlett Packard Laboratories

Senior HP Fellow and Director Social Computing Lab HP Laboratories

Daniel M Romero, Cornell University

Ph.D Student Center for Applied Mathematics Cornell University




How to Cite

Huberman, B., Romero, D. M., & Wu, F. (2008). Social networks that matter: Twitter under the microscope. First Monday, 14(1).