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Twitter and the new regime of audience measurement
 

Twitter and the new regime of audience measurement

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Presentation at the "Düsseldorf Workshop on Interdisciplinary Approaches to Twitter Analysis", 14./15.9.2011

Presentation at the "Düsseldorf Workshop on Interdisciplinary Approaches to Twitter Analysis", 14./15.9.2011

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    Twitter and the new regime of audience measurement Twitter and the new regime of audience measurement Presentation Transcript

    • Twitter and the new regime of audience measurement
      @JanSchmidt
      Düsseldorf, 14.9.2011
    • Context & Agenda
      • Work on social web and audience is part of…
      • … research programme „Betweenreception, interaction, andproduction– changingusers‘ rolesin convergingmedia“ at the Hans-Bredow-Institute
      • Upcoming 2.5-year-project „(Re-)Discovery oftheaudience“ (fundedby DFG)
      • Short report „Audiencemetrics 2.0“ for ZDF
      • Various research & publication projects on the transformation of the public sphere
      Perspectives on „audience“ and „audience measurement“
      Twitter and audience measurement
      An emerging regime?
      Audience Measurement
      2 of 10
    • Three Perspectives on Audience
      Audience as recipients
      • Audience as sum of all receivers of media content;
      • Considered to be more or less active (passive consumption vs. active selection and engagement with media content)
      Audience as product
      • „manufactured audience“ asmaincommodityproducedbymediaindustry(Smythe1977)
      • „audience labor“ as dominant activity: media consumption as reproduction of capitalist workforce and training to participate in capitalist consumption society
      Audience as empowered networks
      • Produsageas new mode of media use (Bruns 2008)
      • Participative mediation is complementing technical and professional mediation in networked public spheres (Neuberger/Nuernbergk/Rischke 2009)
      • Audience management as important part of self-disclosure and privacy in personal public spheres (Schmidt 2011)
       
      Audience Measurement
      3 of 10
    • Regimes of audience measurement
      • Regime of audience measurement: relatively stable constellation of actors, technologies and practices which produce, with specific interests and within specific power relations, accepted data on size, composition and activities of media audience.
      • Regime of audience measurement in TV has stabilized over 60+ years: Usually monopolized system of „joint industry committees“ where broadcasters and advertisers put out tenders to specialized research companies (big players: AGB-Nielsen, TNS, GfK Telecontrol)
      • Trends in broadcast media audience measurement (following Bermejo 2009)
      • Automated, non-reactive „while you watch“-measuring
      • Individualized (instead of household-based) measuring
      • Measuring contact with smaller / shorter pieces of content
      • Near-live transfer and aggregation of measured data
      Twitter (and other online media) is furthering these trends
      Audience Measurement
      4 of 10
    • Articulatingthe audience on Twitter
      Twitter’s communicative architecture is…
      … organizing communication and information selection along articulated social connections (followers – followees)
      • Structures of the networked audience (clustering; centrality-periphery-patterns, etc.) can be measured
      … making visible communicative references (@-replies; Re-Tweets; Fav’s; common hashtags; …)
      • Reach, fluidity and viral spread of de-bundled „microcontent“ as well as of particular issues can be assessed
      • Follow-up communication“ can be monitored
      … making these information available via API’s
      • Both structure and communication (content & dynamic) within audience is accessible to others
       Twitter is affording extended metrics for audience measurement
      Audience Measurement
      5 of 10
    • Metrics 2.0
      Audience Measurement
      6 of 10
    • Assessingthequalityofindicators
      • For media companies (as for others interested in twitter metrics), various aspects of data quality are important, but yet unanswered
      Manipulation: e.g. Fake-Accounts & Astroturfing; buyingfollowers & retweets; Twitter Spam
      2nd orderreactivity: real usersgiveincorrect personal informationbecausetheydon‘ttrusttheintermediary
      Openingthe „blackbox“: Howisdataconstructed by twitter or other services? Whatalgorithmsareusedtomeasureinfluence, popularity, centrality, etc.?
      Puttingmetricsintocontext: e.g. over time; comparedtootheractivities; comparedtoindicatorsfrom different platforms
      Audience Measurement
      7 of 10
    • Emerging regime?
      • Regime ofaudiencemeasurement: relativelystable constellation of actors, technologiesandpractices which produce, withspecificinterestsandwithinspecific power relations, accepteddata on size, composition and activities of mediaaudience.
      • Twitter is not only affording communication, but also aggregating and providing data – control over code and data provides powerful position
      • Additional actors include (media) companies, market researchers, academic researchers, consulting agencies, … who develop and establish their own methods and reports (e.g. Deutsche Twittercharts; Social Media Ranking; …)
      • Rapid technological innovation in terms of procedures and algorithms to automate the monitoring, aggregation, analysis, display etc. of audience data
      • No stable constellation… yet?
      • Twitter - for monetarization - as well as (media) companies – for evaluation of their activities on Twitter - have interest in establishing agreed-upon indicators and procedures
      • Technological dynamic, possibly also the transnational and transculturual nature of Twitter might prohibit stabilization of measurement regimes
      • Combination of science, control, consensus on procedure and trust has allowed previous regimes to emerge (Bourdon/Méadel 2011) – will the same happen with Twitter?
      Audience Measurement
      8 of 10
    • Reflecting the implications
      • Changing regime of audience measurement is bringing about new questions
      • How to compensate the working audience, when audience measurement is becoming „a process of appropriation – commercialization or commodification – of interactivity“ (Bermejo 2009, 149)
      • Are the „people formerly known as the audience“ also becoming self-aware as an audience? Might this even lead to strategic action (e.g. collectively exerting power to influence indicators)?
      • How is privacy and data protection maintained when all personal and interaction data is stored and monitored? Can informed consent to data-mining be pre-supposed?
      • … [probably many many more.. ]
      Audience Measurement
      9 of 10
    • Thank you!
      Dr. Jan-Hinrik Schmidt
      Hans-Bredow-Institut
      Warburgstr. 8-10, 20354 Hamburg
      j.schmidt@hans-bredow-institut.de
      www.hans-bredow-institut.de
      www.schmidtmitdete.de
      www.dasneuenetz.de
    • Literature
      • Bermejo, F. (2009): Audience manufacture in historical perspective: from broadcasting to Google. In: New Media & Society, 11(1/2): 133-154.
      • Bourdon, J.; Méadel, C. (2011): Inside television audience measurement: Deconstructing the ratings machine. In: Media, Culture & Society, 33(5): 791-800.
      • Bruns, A. (2008): Blogs, Wikipedia, Second Life, and beyond. From production to produsage. New York u.a.: Peter Lang.
      • Neuberger, C.; Nuernbergk, C.; Rischke, M. (2009): Journalismus im Internet: Profession, Partizipation, Technisierung. Wiesbaden: VS.
      • Schiffers, O. (2010): Tools und Kennzahlen für das Social Web. In: Brauckmann, P. (Hg.): Web-Monitoring. Konstanz: UVK. 267-286.
      • Schmidt, J. (2011): (Micro)Blogs: Practices of Privacy Management. In: Trepte, S.; Reinecke, L. (Eds.): Privacy Online. Heidelberg: Springer.
      • Smythe, D. (1977): Communications: blindspot of Western Marxism. In: Canadian Journal of Political and Social Theory, 2(2): 1-27.