Following up on the media frenzy surrounding alleged Boston bomber Dzhokhar Tsarnaev’s prolific Twitter use, a new data analysis claims to have mapped links between Tsarnaev’s real-life friends on Twitter. The project, by Betaworks‘ Gilad Lotan, is part of Digg‘s new effort to produce original content. One of the most important findings was that while some of Tsarnaev’s high school friends defended him online, the bulk of his contacts from college shut down their Twitter feeds following the attacks.
Tsarnaev’s real-life contacts on Twitter were surprised by the media attention to their feeds, asking questions like “Who the f*** are these random people mentioning me?” One high school contact also wrote, “To the people out there harassing me and my fellow Rindge students who knew him, you can NOT say anything that can alter our feelings towards the kid we knew. It’s disgusting how people can be so rude, ignorant, and insensitive. Nobody is defending what he has done, we are only defending the person we knew!”