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72 Hours of Gamergate on Twitter

Andy Baio, writing for The Message on Medium:

Anyone who’s mentioned the #Gamergate hashtag in a critical light knows the feeling: a swarm of seemingly random, largely-anonymous people descending to comment and criticize.

I’ve been using Twitter for eight years, but I’ve never seen behavior quite like this. This swarming behavior is so prevalent, it got a new nickname — “sea lioning,” inspired by David Malki’s Wondermark comic.

I wanted to understand #Gamergate, how its proponents and critics behaved and the composition of both audiences.

So I wrote a little Python script with the Twython wrapper for the Twitter streaming API, and started capturing every single tweet that mentioned the #Gamergate and #NotYourShield hashtags from October 21–23.

Three days later, I was sitting on 316,669 tweets, along with a bunch of metadata for trying to understand the composition of both sides of the #Gamergate movement.

Fascinating research.

Tuesday, 28 October 2014