The Finnish Twitter elite, and then some

Twittercensus’ charting of the Finnish speaking Twitter users reveal several interesting tendencies that before have been much discussed but less scrutinized, especially in numbers. Judging from the main cluster we have an homogenous and small crowd of active users, active both online and in society it seems.

This charting made by Hampus Brynolf (@HampusBrynolf) of @Intellecta is solely based on language. So this is essentially a chart of Finnish speaking Twitter. You could be located in Fiji, as long as you’re writing in Finnish, you’re in. That means on the other hand that Finns tweeting mainly in English (for example Alexander Stubb @AlexStubb) or in Swedish (for example Peppe Öhman @peppepeppepeppe) are excluded from this survey. A more specific description of the methology can be read here.

The small Finnish Twitter

First of all, it really is a small crowd of active users we encounter here. Twittercensus lands at the figure of 64K Finnish speaking Twitter accounts, of which only 26K are active (1 tweet/30 days, these are included in the graph) and an even smaller crowd of 5000 accounts that are judged to be very active (1 teet / day). According to a previous estimate Finnish Twitter accounts would be as many as 300K. That of course would include tweeps using all languages as well as passive and/or lurking accounts. Whereas Toni Nummelas @toninummela ongoing Twitter survey has by 18.2.2013 found over 25K active Finnish Twitter accounts.

The homogenous Finnish Twitter

The graph is also quite homogeneous  There is only one clearly obtruding cluster consisting of tweeps with a shared interest in manga/anime (please correct me if this description is inaccurate). Beside this on only six other clusters are to be found, as seen in the picture below.

Twittercensus Finland cluster map
Twittercensus Finland cluster map

The six main clusters blend into each other to a very high degree. When you look closer at them there are some noteworthy tendencies to be found. First of all there is media everywhere, and not separated into a cluster of its own. Most news media is in the light blue cluster, as are the politicians. This could potentially be an interesting base for a detailed analysis of the power structures between politicians and news media.

But there is also media to be found in the green business cluster (e.g. @KauppalehtiFI), in the entertainment cluster (e.g. @Maikkari) and in the sports cluster (e.g. @YleUrheilu). How these large clusters integrate into each other is well illustrated by one of Finland’s largest Twitter profiles @TuomasEnbuske. He sits as a journalist surrounded by the mainly light blue journalists/politicians cluster. But he is himself counted into the purple entertainment cluster, most likely largely through his followers who are mainly entertainment-oriented. Also note into how large an extent the different clusters blend into each other when you zoom in and look closer at the cluster structure of the surprisingly homogeneous graph.

Tuomas Enbuske and the graph of many colours

The Nordic perspective

Hampus Brynolf has made similar surveys over the Swedish, Danish and Norwegian language Twitter users. Putting these figures side by side gives some rather interesting insights.

Twittercensus Nordic comparison chart
Twittercensus Nordic comparison chart

Finland and Denmark are both relatively small Twitter nations with quite similar figures and degrees of engagement. Sweden and Norway are both significantly larger Twitter nations. But note that the population of Norway actually is slightly smaller than the populations of Finland and Denmark. Thus making Norway the Nordic Twitter giant per capita. That is also to be seen in the relatively larger amount of the Norwegians’ social spheres. It is also interesting to note that Swedes and he Norwegians are clearly more active tweeters than Finns or Danes. So it seems an active community feeds itself and promotes growth.

Comparing the Swedish and the Finnish graphs also strengthens the notion of Finnish Twitter being very homogeneous. In this mapping of the Swedish graph there are no less than 25 different clusters identified. (Note the light blue Finnish Swedish cluster at the left.) One significant difference is the regional clusters clearly identifiable in Sweden, seem to be completely missing from the Finnish graph.

Twitter elite?

So what should we make of it all? Is Finnish Twitter basically a small tightly interconnected elite setting the agenda? Well, I do see several signed implying precisely that in the graph. But that is of course not the whole truth. I see it as a mainly positive thing that media can be found within all groups of interest. And I read the lack of regional clusters mainly as a democratic tendency where all have the opportunity for everyone to have their voice’s heard within this community without regards to place of activity. But there has also for a long time been a strong over emphasis in media of Twitter as a platform. So it goes both ways. Twitter gets far more media attention than any other social network in relation to its relatively low amount of users. And that is in itself a rather compelling reason to join the conversation.

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Författare: Micke H

Konceptutvecklare för Svenska YLEs Nya medier.
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