Which Countries Does the World Talk About? An Examination of Factors that Shape Country Presence on Twitter

H. Denis Wu, Jacob Groshek, Michael G. Elasmar


This study investigates which countries were mentioned most on Twitter during 2013 and what factors—country attributes, communication and economic resources, and contexts—can explain country presence on Twitter. Tweet mentions from 210 countries were derived using full fire hose archival searches. We identify trends that differ from the patterns found in news flow literature. And the results suggest a new era of international communication via Web-based social networks. Although core and semiperiphery countries are mentioned more than periphery countries, mobile phone penetration and sociopolitical instability have reshaped the contours of country images, and only 28% of the 50 most-mentioned countries on Twitter were core countries. This study discusses the implications of evolving social media for traditional news media outlets, world politics, and international relations.


Twitter, predictor of tweets, world system theory, mobile phone, country size, sociopolitical instability, news flow

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