A Cluster Analysis of RT Followers on Twitter | STRAPPA project partnership, Helsinki University

This May, Reframing Russia’s Dr Rhys Crilley presented a cluster analysis of RT’s international Twitter followers in a lecture at the Aleksanteri Institute of Helsinki University. Given as part of Reframing Russia’s partnership with the Strategies of Persuasion in an Algorithmic Age (STRAPPA) project, the lecture introduced a new method for identifying and analysing similar clusters of Twitter followers, and applied this to Twitter followers of RT and other international broadcasters such as the BBC World Service, Al Jazeera, and CNN. Through comparing the audience clusters of each broadcaster, the findings of this cluster analysis suggested that the majority of RT’s Twitter audience is similar to that of other international broadcasters, yet RT also has an audience who are more likely to follow celebrity accounts, special interest accounts (such as sport, technology and Bollywood accounts), and alternative news sources. In presenting these contrasts, the lecture demonstrated the importance of undertaking further detailed analysis of audiences in the digital age, in order to inform study of RT and contemporary Russian soft power more broadly.

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