Social media has become the de-facto medium for humans to communicate about events as they are occurring. Whether it’s a natural disaster such as a tornado or earthquake, a social movement such as the Arab Spring or Occupy Wall Street, or a popular event such as a concert or the Olympics, social media has become the mainstream method for all people involved to share their thoughts with each other. Through the analysis of hundreds of billions of tweets over the past couple of years, we’ve observed this distinct cycle time and time again: initial fragmentation is followed by a later unification of terms and hashtags within the Twittersphere, and we refer to this as the coalescing of communication within social media. For widespread, persistent events --- such as the Arab Spring or Occupy Wall Street - we also consistently see a secondary fragmentation after coalescence. In this final step of the cycle, the coalesced terms break off into sub-threads that refer to local or derived applications of the initial event. Download this complimentary whitepaper which presents findings showing some of the coalescing patterns we’ve observed using real-life data points.
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