Research & Insights

By Lukas Biewald, January 22, 2009

Judging a stranger by their tweets

In previous posts, we looked at what happens when people judged strangers by their pictures. This time we looked at how people would judge strangers by their twitter feeds.

We took the top 200 twitterers from and asked people on Amazon Mechanical Turk to judge how smart, interesting, trustworthy, etc. they thought they were.

Here’s a scatterplot of the top twitterers showing the smart vs. interesting values. You can see someone like Matt Cutts was thought to be smart but not entertaining, while Jimmy Fallow was judged as entertaining but not as smart.

If you mouse over a feed you can see what turkers said in the free response field.

PS Without asking permission, I subjected some of the D.L. people to the same treatment… Chris was tagged as “rocker” and “sarcastic” (dead on). Travis was tagged as “chatty” and “sarcastic” (starting to see a pattern 🙂 ). Steph was tagged as “productive” and “good”. Brendan was tagged as “confusing” and “busy”. The author got “dramatic” and “rambling”, which was nicer than I expected.

If you’re feeling brave and you want to be included in the next batch send a message to @doloreslabs on twitter…

And since I can’t bear to pass up an opportunity to make a classic powerlaw graph in R, here is a graph of tags and their frequencies. The x-axis is subsampled substantially.:

(Shout out to Travis for the idea of this post.)

– In a late-night fit of inspiration, Chris made the above chart zoom-able (with the scroll-wheel) and search-able.

– For those of you that want a simpler interface to looks at the results here it is.

– To answer some of the questions in the comments: the turkers could see the username of the person twittering, so certainly that affected the results.

– If you want to be included in further experiments, please follow doloreslabs on Twitter.

– If there is interest, we could post the raw data for people to build their own visualizations, shoot us an email if you want access.