If you access Twitter through a smartphone, then chances are that you use online social platforms quite differently from those who use web browsers and desktop clients to login to their accounts. This is the general finding advanced in a paper by Mathieu Perreault and Derek Ruths that was recently accepted to the International Conference on Weblogs and Social Media. The conference, held this year in Barcelona, Spain, is a top venue for research concerning data and human behavior in online communities.
In their paper, entitled “The Effect of Mobile Platforms on Twitter Content Generation”, Perreault and Ruths quantify a variety of ways in which mobile Twitters users differ from their desktop counterparts: mobile users tend to engage in conversations, often sharing much more personal information with their followers. Furthermore, they show that the Twitter community is divided into exclusively mobile and exclusively non-mobile users – with few individuals who regularly use both mobile and non-mobile clients.
The results, while general in nature, shed light on the way in which mobile platforms fundamentally alter the way that individuals interact with online social data. With more and more interactions being conducted through smartphones and tablets, we expect this work to predict the way that the majority of people will come to use online communities.