Who Tweets? Deriving the Demographic Characteristics of Age, Occupation and Social Class from Twitter User Meta-Data

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This paper evaluates two tools for the automated identification of demographic and occupational data from the profile descriptions of Twitter users in the United Kingdom. Using human validation, the validity and reliability of automated machine processes is assessed for demographics and occupation. The authors find that it is possible to detect signatures of both occupation and age from Twitter metadata with varying degrees of accuracy, with less reliability towards occupation groups, but that further confirmatory work is required. These findings illustrate an incremental step forwards on the repurposing of social media data for social scientific analysis.


This paper is a useful starting point for researchers attempting to understand occupational and demographic-related data from extremist users on Twitter and other social media platforms.

Luke Sloan, Jeffrey Morgan, Pete Burnap, Matthew Williams

March 2015