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Uncovering information from social media hyperlinks: An investigation of twitter

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Journal of the Association for Information Science and Technology

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Analyzing hyperlink patterns has been a major research topic since the early days of the web. Numerous studies reported uncovering rich information and methodological advances. However, very few studies thus far examined hyperlinks in the rapidly developing sphere of social media. This paper reports a study that helps fill this gap. The study analyzed links originating from tweets to the websites of 3 types of organizations (government, education, and business). Data were collected over an 8-month period to observe the fluctuation and reliability of the individual data set. Hyperlink data from the general web (not social media sites) were also collected and compared with social media data. The study found that the 2 types of hyperlink data correlated significantly and that analyzing the 2 together can help organizations see their relative strength or weakness in the two platforms. The study also found that both types of inlink data correlated with offline measures of organizations' performance. Twitter data from a relatively short period were fairly reliable in estimating performance measures. The timelier nature of social media data as well as the date/time stamps on tweets make this type of data potentially more valuable than that from the general web. © 2015 ASIS&T.

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