Drew Conway writes:
I [Drew] came across some new statistical research that may be of interest for your blog. Straight methods criticism is a bit outside the scope of my focus, however, I am a avid Twitter user and after reading a new report from Harvard Business on the service I noticed several methodological holes that I think are worth noting.
I would be very curious to get your take, as the research has been burning up Twitter all day and no one seems to be taking pause to ask any questions.
Here are my questions:
1. How does the fact that 80% of users follow or are followed by one or more test the capacity of a user base to understand the service? Do we have some expectation about the probability of an occurrence of a tie, and if so, why?
2. A large portion of Twitter users keep their gender identification ambiguous, therefore, to what extent does this alter their conclusions as it appears they made no attempt to correct for it?
3. As the article points out, all well developed online social media services follow have a contribution pattern that roughly follow power-law or exponential distributions. Does the fact that Twitter is within at the extreme bounds of these distributions only point to the fact that it is still settling into an equilibrium state?
I think Drew will be disappointed to hear that I have no comments at all on this study! I just don’t know enough about Twitter to even start to think about it. But I’m sure the rest of you have thoughts on this…