Discovery of emergent issues and controversies in anthropology using text mining, topic modeling, and social network analysis of microblog content
R is a convenient tool for analyzing text content to discover emergent issues and controversies in diverse corpora. In this case study, I investigate the use of Twitter at a major conference of professional and academic anthropologists. Using R I identify the demographics of the community, the structure of the community of Twitter-using anthropologists, and the topics that dominate the Twitter messages. I describe a series of statistical methods for handling a large corpus of Twitter messages that might otherwise be impractical to analyze. A key finding is that the transformative effect of Twitter in academia is to easily enable the spontaneous formation of information-sharing communities bound by an interest in an event or topic.