Visualising the UK HEIs Twitter network

Edit: I developed this work further and it has now been published as a paper in First Monday: Jordan, K. (2017) Examining the UK Higher Education sector through the network of institutional accounts on Twitter. First Monday, 22(5), article 5..

I’m a big fan of Gephi, and a little while ago I found out about the Geo Layout plugin, which you can use to set the layout of nodes in a network according to latitude and longitude.

To try it out, I decided to collect data about the follower/following relationships on Twitter between UK Higher Education institution (HEIs) accounts. The steps I took were as follows:

  • Complied list of UK HEIs (147 institutions).
  • Sourced Twitter IDs (132 institutions). Note that I only used accounts representing the whole institution, not departments or societies.
  • Used NodeXL to collect information about follower-following relationships between IDs on the list.
  • Saved data as CSV and imported list of edges into Gephi.
  • Exported nodes table, added latitude and longitude data from Wikipedia, and reimported into Gephi.

I then installed and ran the Geo Layout plugin, and these were the results (note that I colour coded the nodes according to communities identified by ‘modularity’ in Gephi, for visual interest; click to enlarge):

Curved edges:

Curved Edges

Straight edges:




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