BEER lovers, fans of Justin Bieber, evangelical groups and Adelaide foodies are among the most isolated groups on Twitter.
But discussions about politics, the internet and the price of gas bills were some of the most connected topics, according to a study of shared interests among Australia's estimated two million Twitter users.
The [ARC Centre of Excellence for Creative Industries and Innovation] has defined the Twittersphere for the first time, establishing the connections and interests of more than 950,000 local Twitter accounts and mapping the links of the 120,000 most connected users.
The researchers grouped these highly connected users into clusters, identifying dominant topics bringing together each group. Project leader Axel Bruns said the map offered a new way of understanding Australian society and dispelled some of the myths about the online world.
"There is this idea that online we are just talking to our friends, or that we are fragmenting into these small individual communities, but this map clearly shows that while there are areas of focus they are quite well interconnected," Professor Bruns said. "There are clusters, obviously, but across the map there aren't major gaps or disconnections between those clusters."
The dominant clusters show that the main common areas of shared interest include news, books, film, fashion and business.
Among the more isolated Twitter networks were geographical clusters around Adelaide and Perth, evangelical religious groups, some sports followers and lovers of beer.
"Perth and Adelaide were the only ones where we could see geographically based clusters," Professor Bruns said. "My reading of that is it's because they are geographically further from the rest of the Australian population.
It is also interesting that Adelaide is closely associated with the food and wine clusters and so perhaps that may be the result of their drive to promote food and wine.
"As for the evangelical groups, they may well be connected to evangelical or religious groups overseas but perhaps not with the centre of the Australian Twittersphere.The same goes for some of the Australian music culture and fans of the Jonas Brothers or Justin Bieber."
Sydneysider Alice Pailthorpe, 30, would likely feel she is most connected on Twitter in areas of news and social policy. Ms Pailthorpe, a law student employed by a social advocacy group, uses Twitter to get news and connect with people not in her sector and also in the legal field. "I follow a lot of organisations similar to the one I work for in social policy and then I also follow people who I think are interesting for news," Ms Pailthorpe said. "I'd say half my followers are lawyers, barristers or law students. "A lot of lawyers will now tweet if they have a question outside their expertise and get an amazing amount of responses. I've used it and been able to get information I would not have been able to get otherwise and in a matter of minutes."
This article was oringinally published in The Australian. Read the original article.