Mapping the contraception debate on Twitter

This network analysis of Twitter users talking about contraception reveals a heavily US-dominated conversation, with participants clearly divided into Democrat / liberal and Republican / conservative groups, and little interchange between them.

Around 7,500 tweets mentioning ‘contraception’ or ‘birth control’ were collected during a 24-hour period in November last year. The follow relationships were then worked out between all the accounts that had tweeted.

The 'contraception' debate on Twitter

This approach underlines the ability of network analysis to discover online communities and is reminiscent of Lada Adamic’s network map of links between Republican and Democrat blogs in the run-up to the 2004 election. It suggests US politics has grown no less polarised since then, at least around this issue.

Lada Adamic Republican Democrat blogs

Lada Adamic’s famous visual of Democrat and Republican blogs during the 2004 US election

The image below shows the intersection between the Democrat and Republican communities in more detail.

Contraception Twitter network detail

You can download a PDF of the network showing individual account names here (21 MB).