Category Archives: Indivisible

Going Rogue

Responding to gag orders by President Trump, twenty three rogue accounts representing their respective agencies have been created on Twitter.

@ActualEPAFacts
@AltFedCyberz
@AltForestServ
@AltHHS
@AltNatParkSer
@AltUSFWS
@AltUS_ARC
@AltYosemiteNPS
@Alt_CDC
@Alt_NASA
@Alt_NIH
@AlternativeNWS
@BadHombreNPS
@ClimateNPS
@NatParkUndrgrnd
@NatlSciService
@RogueNASA
@RogueNOAA
@Rogue_USBGN
@altUSEPA
@alt_fda
@altusda
@ungaggedEPA
I decided to see who they were following. The Maltego graph was tolerable in terms of size, but these are best when I’m digging for details, not so helpful when I want to show others.

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My system already captures follower/following relationships and today I spent an hour crafting a script that would automate the production of an input file for Gephi. Those 23 accounts were following a total of 1,632 others and there were 2,433 total links.

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I wanted to see who was influential for these accounts so I squelched the low degree nodes to clean up the graph. The National Park Service is where the rebellion started so theirs is the oldest and most dense, clearly visible here. I was not at all surprised to find Bill Nye and Neil deGrasse Tyson prominent among those being followed.

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And it looks like @RogueNOAA is starting to join the fun.

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All in all, I don’t think Trump has any idea what he has unleashed here. The cute Twitter accounts are funny, but this level of conflict is going to embolden employees to say and do all sorts of things they would not in more settled time. First Manning, then Snowden, and who knows what might turn up next.

RogueNASA

Indivisible Influencers

The Indivisible Movement has expanded rapidly. I profiled 176 Twitter accounts in The Indivisible Movement’s Facilitators. Last night I started a study of who their influencers are last night and I found that my list now has 254 members – a 44% increase in 72 hours.

I have a set of @Klout transforms and I let them run on those 254 accounts, which led to this Maltego graph of 638 accounts total. The nodes on this graph are sized by the number of links, the one in the center is @IndivisibleTeam. These are the accounts that Klout finds to be influencers OF the Indivisibles.

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Within the 638 accounts on that graph I found fifty House members.

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And fifty four Senators.

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I’m not going to show the 260 other accounts that Klout found to be influential but I will make a few generalizations about them. Members of this group included:

  • Former presidents & presidential candidates.
  • Many news outlets.
  • Celebrities who’ve expressed opinions about Trump, mostly negative.
  • Activists who are in the middle of things but who do not have ‘Indivisible’ in their name.

I also let the transform run on topics for which the Indivisible accounts are influential. I tossed a lot of cruft – celebrities who are apolitical, keywords like ‘coffee’, that sort of thing.

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I found four active categories of discussion

  • Issues topped the list – health care, civil rights, employment, and lastly war.
  • Some locations rose to prominence, but this didn’t make much sense to me given the broad geographic distribution of accounts.
  • WaPo and NBC seem to be favorite news sources.
  • Trump, Nixon, and Roosevelt were the presidents that were mentioned.

About the time I created the Indivisibility post, an index of my work in this area, I received a worried chat message.

Why is he trying to dox them?

The word ‘dox’ is a hacker/troll term, a verb that means “to identify the operator of an account, or to dig out a lot of personal information on an individual whose name is known”. The implication is that the person will then be harassed.

I don’t particularly care about who might be running any given Indivisible account. I’m currently taking Social and Economic Networks: Models and Analysis, I support what Indivisible and similar movements are trying to accomplish, and I’m just using this large social phenomenon as a testing ground for my (presumably) improved analysis capabilities.

I almost never approve comments on this blog. If you have a concern, leave a comment, and if it’s a well founded question I’ll probably post the text of it and a response.

Indivisibility

Indivisible Movement

Indivisible Movement

The @IndivisibleTeam account was created on 18 December 2016 and I first wrote about it on 18 January 2017. Having poked around a bit, it would seem that this is going to be an ongoing thing for the next four years. This post will serve as an index of any work I do in this area.

The Indivisible Movement – visualizing the relationship between the four founder’s accounts and the main role account and the movement they have triggered.

The Indivisible Movement’s Conversation – visualizing the mentions originating from the 178 accounts identified in the first article.

The Indivisible Movement’s Facilitators – visualizing the accounts followed by 176 remaining accounts that were available on 20 January  2017, with an eye on identifying key human facilitators via identification of high centrality accounts.

Indivisible Influencers – visualized 254 movement accounts, who their influencers are with a focus on members of Congress, and then extracted their favorite topics, all seen from the perspective of the @Klout API.

If you are a reporter, a fellow blogger, or a student writing a paper and you’re interested in the graphics presented here feel free to drop a note to nrauhauser at gmail. Only a tiny fraction of the material I have ever makes it here and I occasionally take on producing visualizations for others.

The Indivisible Movement’s Facilitators

On January 18th I published The Indivisible Movement, which contained a visualization of the role accounts for the movement as mentioned by the four founders and the lead role account, @IndivisibleTeam.

On January 19th I published The Indivisible Movement’s Conversation, in which I explored the five core accounts and 173 additional role accounts that mentioned over 8,500 others.

Mentions are an excellent way to see who matters in the moment; keys accounts can have enormous numbers of friends and followers, but there is a limit to how much conversation happens in a given period. The Netwar System permits me to extract mentions in a given timeframe; fine grained control in which accounts are involved in a specific event.

I keep Maltego Classic, a penetration tester’s toolkit, which is useful for plumbing follower/following relationships, but it becomes clumsy when starting with more than a few dozen accounts. I have yet to lay hands on Maltego XL, which will handle more than the 10,000 node maximum of the version I have, but I am not particularly tempted. I have some skill with Gephi, a free data visualization package that will easily handle tens of thousands of nodes and which offers a wide variety of additional capabilities via its marketplace.

Today I undertook a type of analysis using Gephi which I’ve previously only done with Maltego – examining friendships in search of high centrality node that are otherwise innocuous. The numbers involved were an order of magnitude larger than anything I’d trust Maltego to handle without thrashing helplessly due to memory exhaustion.

My initial working set was only 1,738 accounts, 176 I am tracking as part of the Indivisible Movement, and 1,562 they were following. There were an amazing 25,230 links from the 176 accounts to the total set of 1,738. This is a very dense network.

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This is the same network as above, only with the ‘ego network’ of @IndivisibleTeam highlighted so that we can more easily read the names of the nodes. The larger the text, the more links to a given node.

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03-5-171-127-16575-min-degree-23 I used the filter methods until the only accounts that were visible had at least twenty three links. The 176 Indivisible Movement accounts were following 127 others, for a grand total of 16,575 links. A graph of 300 total nodes with sparse links is at the outer edge of my ability to lay them out in pleasing fashion. A graph this dense was basically impossible to simplify. I needed less data.

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I manually removed a large number of the high degree nodes, Senators, news outlets, and the like. They are important, of course, but not in the context of attempting to understand an emerging social movement.

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Growing weary of filtering and layout algorithms, I simply copied all of the high degree nodes to a new workspace in Gephi, and then deleted all of the 176 that I’ve identified as being founders and the role accounts for the moment. These remaining 58 accounts are, I believe, mostly humans that matter to the movement. Some are minor celebrities in their own right, some will prove to the the proprietors of various role accounts for the movement, and some are quiet, but pivotal players.

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The first thing that jumps out at me is the keyword ‘resist’ and in particular @ResistanceParty. I suspect that group is another facet of the same social movement. I found about 4,000 accounts with the hashtag #TheResistance in their profiles using FollowerWonk.

A pool of accounts twenty times the size of those I’ve made out as being Indivisible Movement would require between two and a half and five days to collect in a serial fashion. I’ll have to rummage around in my sock drawer and arrange for parallel processing.

I see many parallels between the Indivisible Movement and other social movements in which I have engaged or studied in the eight years since I became interested in social network analysis. There are echoes of both Coffee Party and Occupy Wall Street, as well as other more subtle signs of other prior populist outbursts.

 

The Indivisible Movement’s Conversation

Yesterday in The Indivisible Movement I visualized the four founders, the primary role account, and about 170 role accounts for various states, cities, and Congressional districts. Now that I’ve got all of these accounts being recorded by the Netwar System I can easily visualize their conversations as they grow and spread.

These are all done with Gephi.

Almost all of my layouts start with Force Atlas 2 and then get tweaked with Label Adjust, Expansion, and various applications of Filter. This is a bit of a departure; the Indivisible Movement is busy enough that OpenOrd produces an interesting initial view. This is 178 accounts that mentioned 8,539 others a total of 18,783 times.

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I just can’t stay away from Force Atlas 2. Each of these is that layout algorithm with various tweaks intended to provide a visually provocative exposition of the movement’s conversation.

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This one is precisely the same graph as above, only limited to nodes which had thirty or more mentions. This is a somewhat clumsy measure of who is important, or at least who has been at it longer. There are a lot of brand new accounts that haven’t had chances to develop the cloud of mentions exemplified by the orange cloud around @Leahgreenb.

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This is a combination of larger scaling than above coupled with high gravity. The effect is to produce a dense, circular graph with good separation of the colored sub-groups within the overall conversation. We’ll revisit this layout in a few weeks and we’ll find that many of these accounts in the middle left that are conversationally close to @IndivisibleTeam will ‘pop’, producing little clouds of their own. The @USIndivisible account on the right is emergent – it wasn’t there yesterday, now it’s a rising force.

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If you’re a journalist and you want a graphic like this for an article just drop me a note – nrauhauser at gmail. I’m happy to provide assistance.

The Indivisible Movement

A few days ago I noticed @IndivisibleTeam and their 26 page Indivisible Guide. Having worked on Capitol Hill during the time the Tea Party was rising the suggestions in the guide are immediately recognizable as their playbook, edited to fit the needs of Progressives by Congressional staff that intimately understand how a House or Senate office works.

I started with the four founders (@AngelRafPadilla,@ezralevin,@Leahgreenb,@texpat) and the official role account @IndivisibleTeam, then looked for other Indivisible role accounts that got mentioned. The colors here don’t have a legend, they’re a visual clue as to how many subdivisions there are within a given conversation group. The thicker the line, the more often the accounts are mentioned.

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I turned the squelch up on links until only seventeen or more mentions qualified.

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I checked these accounts and it looks like the best way to get mentioned by @IndivisibleTeam is to score some local media attention.

Using nothing other than the mention metadata, I’m going to guess that @ezralevin sets the policy for how @IndivisibleTeam conducts itself – they share a promotion strategy. He’s mentioned the most of the accounts that have been noticed by the four founders and his is the only account speaking to others who have not been recognized by anyone else.

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The rapid growth of this movement reminds me of Occupy Wall Street, but the clear, concise playbook will avoid the endless tedium of OWS decision making, and the fault that eventually brought the movement down. OWS had no way to expel troublemakers, informants, and they gave equal time to the mentally ill. Indivisible has a set of guiding principles which will permit autonomous local action and a shared brand that will give it national reach, without the group hug dynamics that wrecked Occupy.

I agree with both what these people are doing and the methods they’re employing to reach them, but I’ve already served my time on the front lines of a couple social movements. I’m just going to set up here and observe, occasionally commenting in a manner which I hope will assist the process.