Follow the Connections! Finding the Big Picture of Internet Communications

Open access


Many tools can be used to track down, store and comprehensively evaluate digital objects, things like how “buzz” develops and how “sentiments” are determined. This information can be used to develop a general evaluation of certain products or a schedule for releasing marketing material on these products. At the same time, the relevance of individual digital objects (e.g., tweets, blog posts and YouTube videos) and actors (e.g., individuals, media and organizations) frequently remains just as much of a mystery as the high-level networking and dynamics of the discussion do. It is the dynamics of these networks that most significantly contribute to the way that opinions are shaped on the Internet and determine whether videos go “viral” and discussions become “flame wars.” As part of the TANEP (Towards an Analytics of Networked Publics) project, the GfK Verein is funding research on methods that can bring these dynamics to visual life and, as a result, reflect the essence of the Internet as a network. The article demonstartes how information is gathered and what it can tell us.