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Polarization of Communities in the form of both Karate Club and Twitter Fingers

Throwing it back┬áto material from the first couple weeks of class, Goldhill explains in this article how the exchange of political information and opinions rarely extends across party lines on social media. The visualization looks similar to Wayne Zachary’s graph shown in the very first lecture of the Karate club, where an imagined line could be drawn between two sides that would be pretty accurate to the breaking apart of the club in a fight.

This also serves as an update to the graph of liberal/conservative ties brought up the same lecture, since the one shown was from 2004 and this one is from 2017. While that graph visualized blog posts and links, this one focused on social media content. It’s interesting to look at the two, because┬áthe blog post graph shows much more interconnectivity than the social media one, and that could either be due to an increase in polarization in the past decade, or a difference inherent in the type of media post. I’m thinking it’s due to polarization because it’s actually functionally easier for users to reply and quote each other on Twitter, which would imply more ties in the social media graph.

In the future, creating similar graphs to examine trends in political expression on different platforms can inform us not only on the spread of information in these networks but on the state of polarization in this country- it’s increasing tenfold and we can use that information to adjust how we interact with each other in political spaces.



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November 2018