The Italian Twittersphere

A social network analysis of the Italian Twittersphere aimed to understand relationship between top twitter users, the ones with at least 100,000 followers [inspired by Twitter and published by Wired Italia, October issue]. For each of them I’ve detected the follower/following relationships (as end of August 2013).
In this way I’ve got 10,249 edges, then analyzed with Gephi. You can search for a twitter account and navigate the map below or in full page (thanks to Raphaël Velt).

[Versione Italiana – parte uno e parte due]

Below you can find the top twitter accounts network visualized. Node size is proportional to indegree (number of followers by top accounts). Edges represent the follower relationships. From 280 nodes 9 clusters were manually detected:
– celebrities (74 tv & film VIP)
– media (54 press, radio, tv outlets)
– music (47 musicians)
– sport (35 athletes)
– brand (21 businesses & NGO)
– journalist (18 from tv & press)
– politics (16 politicians & parties)
– fashion (8 brands)
– personal (7 non VIP like bloggers)

10 Italian accounts have more than 1 million followers. The most followed are Valentino Rossi, with more than 2 million followers, Jovanotti with 1,7 million, the official Twitter account, AC Milan, Beppe Grillo, Mario Balotelli, Radio Deejay, Dolce e Gabbana, Ligabue, Sky TG24.

Italian top twitter accounts

But the most followed by users are not the most followed by VIP. Jovanotti is the most appreciated (followed by 143 peers), the second is Nicola Savino (92), the third is Roberto Saviano (90) followerd by his colleague Beppe Severgnini (88). La Repubblica (88) is the most followed media outlet. Among politicians Matteo Renzi (81) and Beppe Grillo (80).


Homophily between clusters is strong except for media outlets that are not obsessed by competitors, preferring to follow VIP. Journalists follow their colleagues and politicians. Politicians follow peers and media/journalists.

twitter giornalisti e politici

Below the star system network where athletes, musicians and celebrities follow each others plus their peers.


How many accounts they follow?
– 89 VIP follow less than 100 accounts
– 111 follow a maximum of 400 accounts
– 53 follow a maximum of 1000 accounts
– 27 (mostly brands and media) follow more than 1000 account