Tweets from Mobile Devices Often Egocentric

New research explores the way in which the ubiquitous mobile device has changed the way we interact with the world.

While it is now normal behavior to take selfies or live Tweet an event, investigators wanted to discover if a mobile device really be an extension of one’s self?

In their study, researchers at Goldsmiths, Bowdoin College, and the University of Maine found that tweets from mobile devices are more likely to employ egocentric language as opposed to non-mobile device Tweets.

Their findings have been published in the Journal of Communication.

For the study, researchers conducted an analysis of tweets to see if presentations of self are more likely to be more egocentric, negative/positive, gendered, or communal based on whether users were on a mobile device or using a web based platform.

Over the course of six weeks, the researchers collected 235 million tweets. Ninety percent of the top sources to access Twitter were coded to denote mobile, non-mobile, and mixed sources.

Researchers used social psychological methods to study the language use in tweets. This meant they analyzed the frequency and ratios of words traditionally associated with social and behavioral characteristics.

Investigators discovered mobile tweets are not only more egocentric in language than any other group, but that the ratio of egocentric to non-egocentric tweets is consistently greater for mobile tweets than from non-mobile sources.

They also did not find that mobile tweets were particularly gendered. Regardless of platform, tweets tended to employ words traditionally associated as masculine.

Previous studies have linked activities performed face-to-face (e.g. eating dinner) to tweets from a particular source. There has also been research that classify tweets as belonging to a particular sentiment by using word lists. The new study is one of the first to take a look at how mobile versus non-mobile plays a part in the language used on social media.

“Very little work has been done comparing how our social media activities vary from mobile to non-mobile. And as we increasingly use social media from mobile devices, the context in which one uses social media is a critical object of study,” said Murthy.

“Our work is transformative in this understudied field as we found that not all tweets are the same and the source of tweets does influence tweeting patterns, like how we are more likely to tweet with negative language from mobile devices than from web-based ones.”

Source: International Communication Association/EurekAlert