There is no getting away from it, Twitter has become the poster child of social media. It is simplicity personified. Anybody can use it. And everybody who is anybody does. In 140 characters every newsworthy item on the planet is instantly broadcasted and debated. Celebrities give us a running commentary on their otherwise inaccessible lives. Like birds on a wire there is a continuous background of chatter. It rises and falls on every topic on the planet. It is the perfect platform to monitor public sentiment on a massive range of issues.

Not an Overnight Sensation

Twitter, however, has not been not an overnight sensation. It has taken quite a while for its popularity to reach that which it currently enjoys. When it started in 2006 it was intended for use by a team of developers. They presented it in 2007 at a conference in Texas and its popularity increased slowly over the next few years. Its rise in popularity coincided with that of other social media platforms such as Facebook and Instagram. At the same time we were grappling with a number of confusing search engine interfaces such as Google, MSN and Yahoo. The non-tech savvy user base discovered in Twitter a very simple interface that didn’t (and still doesn’t) collect information surreptitiously. In its basic form it is very simple. But it offers a broad level of third-party integrations and a lot of smarts that sophisticated users can deploy.

The Tipping Point

The tipping point for Twitter was when major publications such as Time Magazine and New York Times featured the platform. At that time most users who wanted to express themselves on social media would use a variety of blogging services. Many of these were complex, expensive or relatively unknown. To be read it meant that they would have to promote their blogs and invite their friends to join. With Twitter, a free common platform that everybody is, or can be, on – the paradigm was changed. It became easier not only to post a microblog but also to get people to follow you.

Twitter came of age during a number of big news events. It became a major source of frontline information in the war in Syria, unrest in Iran and, of course, a major upset in the presidential elections in the US. The latter has continued with ongoing controversial use of Twitter by the President himself.

Twitter’s Broader Appeal

Twitter’s broader appeal comes from its use by celebrities who promote themselves unabashedly on Twitter. Taylor Swift has 83.3 million followers. I learned that just now by simply typing her name into the search field on Twitter. She now has one more follower and I have been invited into her boudoir to hear all about her life. Until I get bored and unfollow her. I can do that with practically anybody of any importance on the planet. Of course, she doesn’t post all those tweets herself. However, it’s a level of intimacy that was impossible before Twitter came along.

Considering how Twitter has become the platform for participating in social chatter, it’s not surprising that its usefulness has also extended to the world of cryptocurrency. People that use Twitter are in the know and they are more likely to pass on news that they hear on Twitter before even the mainstream press hears about it. In fact, mainstream press will often report what they hear on Twitter. Only after they have been able to verify the facts do they publish. Causality is a data analytics company whose sole purpose is to build analytical products for the blockchain and cryptocurrency ecosystem. So, identifying who the most influential twitter users are and analysing what they have to say is of great interest.

Significant Predictive Power

We recently came across a research paper that had established that the sentiment of a group of Twitter key influencers had “significant predictive power to [stock] market movement.”  If this were true of the stock market, then logic suggested it would apply equally in the cryptocurrency market.

So we have developed a powerful Crypto Sentiment Alerts tool based on Twitter posts, among other sources.

In our next blog we will discuss how we identified the most Influential Crypto Twitter accounts.

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Also published on Medium.