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Tweets Have Become Shorter Since 2009, Say Computer Scientists

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People on Twitter increasingly are communicating with shorter and fewer words.

Researchers suspect Twitter users increasingly communicate with shorter and fewer words as a result of their growing use of jargon.

Credit: Technology Review

University of the Philippines researchers have measured how the length of tweets have changed between September 2009 and December 2012. "People are communicating with fewer and shorter words," almost certainly because of a more effective use of jargon, according to the researchers.

The researchers also studied how the length of tweets varies geographically in the United States.

The researchers collected 229 million tweets published between Sept. 18, 2009,0 and Dec. 14, 2012, and counted the length of each tweet and plotted this against the date of publication. "The shortening, it seems, can be explained by increased usage of jargon," the researchers found. Their conclusion implies that Twitter users are becoming segregated into well-defined groups of those who understand the same jargon.

The researchers checked for correlations with 51 variables measured in the 2010 census and found that the only variable that correlates strongly with shorter utterances is Black population percentage.

In the future, the researchers plan to study the content of the tweets in more detail.

From Technology Review
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Abstracts Copyright © 2013 Information Inc., Bethesda, Maryland, USA


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