Friday, May 23, 2008

Great Moments in Academia

From "Why We Twitter: Understanding Microblogging Usage and Communities," in "Procedings of the Joint 9th WEBKDD and 1st SNA-KDD Workshop 2007" (h/t: Bad Science):

We find that people use microblogging to talk about their daily activities and to seek or share information.
That's quite a finding: "microblogging is used for microblogging." I don't think I've ever read a paper before where the authors define a term and then call their definition a "finding." (OK, technically, I didn't actually read this paper either. I read the abstract and skimmed part of the paper, and only so I could make fun of it.)

But wait, there's more.

[We] analyze the user intentions associated at a community level and show how users with similar intentions connect with each other.

Among their astonishing findings about user communities:

People in friendship communities often know each other.
Friends who know each other?! It must take years of academic training to uncover such subtleties.

Studying intentions at a community level, we observe users participate in communities which share similar interests.
Communities that share interests?! The mind boggles! Groundbreaking work like this deserves publicity! Grants! Book deals! A series on PBS!

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