#ausvotes Mark Two: Twitter in the 2013 Australian Federal Election

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Paper by Axel Bruns, Tim Highfield, and Theresa Sauter, presented at the Association of Internet Researchers conference, Denver, 24 Oct. 2013.

Paper by Axel Bruns, Tim Highfield, and Theresa Sauter, presented at the Association of Internet Researchers conference, Denver, 24 Oct. 2013.

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  • 1. #ausvotes Mark Two: Twitter in the 2013 Australian Federal Election Axel Bruns, Tim Highfield, and Theresa Sauter ARC Centre of Excellence for Creative Industries and Innovation Queensland University of Technology a.bruns@qut.edu.au — t.highfield@qut.edu.au — t.sauter@qut.edu.au @snurb_dot_info — @timhighfield — @lena_sauter http://mappingonlinepublics.net/ — http://socialmedia.qut.edu.au/
  • 2. BACKGROUND • Research projects: – ARC Discovery: New Media and Public Communication (QUT) – NRC FRISAM: Impact of Social Media on Agenda-Setting in Election Campaigns (QUT, UiO, UiB, Uppsala, CSU LB) – ATN-DAAD: Mapping Networked Politics (QUT, LMU) • Study design: – Comparative study of Twitter usage during Australian, Norwegian, German (and US) election – Tracking tweets from and at Twitter accounts of MPs and candidates before, during, and after election campaigns – Additional analysis of follower networks, national Twitterspheres, social media / mainstream media intersections, etc.
  • 3. TIMELINE • Nov. 2007: Kevin Rudd (Labor) wins the federal election • Dec. 2009: Tony Abbott (Liberal) becomes Opposition Leader • June 2010: Kevin Rudd is replaced by his Deputy, Julia Gillard (Labor) • Aug. 2010: Julia Gillard narrowly wins the federal election Labor minority government, supported by Greens and Independents Labor introduces Emissions Trading Scheme amid fierce opposition Poor opinion polls for Gillard, continuing Labor leadership tension Several unsuccessful leadership challenges by Kevin Rudd • June 2013: • 4 Aug. – 7 Sep. 2013: 2013 Australian federal election campaign • Sep. 2013: Kevin Rudd wins leadership challenge, becomes PM again, calls election Tony Abbott wins the federal election
  • 4. THE SOCIAL MEDIA PM?
  • 5. TWITTER FOR CAMPAIGNING
  • 6. AUSTRALIAN POLITICIANS ON TWITTER (data to June 2013)
  • 7. @TONYABBOTTMHR’S FAKE FOLLOWERS (11/12 Aug. 2013)
  • 8. 40000 4/08/2013 5/08/2013 6/08/2013 7/08/2013 8/08/2013 9/08/2013 10/08/2013 11/08/2013 12/08/2013 13/08/2013 14/08/2013 15/08/2013 16/08/2013 17/08/2013 18/08/2013 19/08/2013 20/08/2013 21/08/2013 22/08/2013 23/08/2013 24/08/2013 25/08/2013 26/08/2013 27/08/2013 28/08/2013 29/08/2013 30/08/2013 31/08/2013 1/09/2013 2/09/2013 3/09/2013 4/09/2013 5/09/2013 6/09/2013 7/09/2013 8/09/2013 #AUSVOTES DURING THE CAMPAIGN 120000 100000 Election day 80000 Labor campaign ‘launch’ 60000 Sum of retweets TV debates 20000 0 Sum of genuine @replies Sum of original tweets
  • 9. 2013-Sep-07 23 2013-Sep-07 22 2013-Sep-07 21 2013-Sep-07 20 2013-Sep-07 19 2013-Sep-07 18 2013-Sep-07 17 16000 2013-Sep-07 16 2013-Sep-07 15 12000 2013-Sep-07 14 2013-Sep-07 13 2013-Sep-07 12 2013-Sep-07 11 2013-Sep-07 10 2013-Sep-07 09 2013-Sep-07 08 2013-Sep-07 07 8000 2013-Sep-07 06 2013-Sep-07 05 2013-Sep-07 04 2013-Sep-07 03 2013-Sep-07 02 2013-Sep-07 01 2013-Sep-07 00 #AUSVOTES ON ELECTION DAY 18000 Abbott’s victory speech 14000 Polls close (eastern states) 10000 Polls open (eastern states) Sum of retweets 6000 Sum of genuine @replies Sum of original tweets 4000 2000 0
  • 10. @MENTIONS OF LEADERS (@REPLIES + RETWEETS) TV debates Abbott ‘sex appeal’ comments Labor campaign ‘launch’
  • 11. RETWEETS OF LEADERS
  • 12. TWEETS BY LEADERS
  • 13. TWEETS BY PARTY CANDIDATES
  • 14. TWITTER FOR DISCUSSING THE LEADERS
  • 15. @MENTIONS OF LEADERS
  • 16. @MENTIONS OF PARTY CANDIDATES ( @ K R U D D M P A N D @ T O N YA B B O T T M H R R E M O V E D )
  • 17. @MENTIONS (ALL USERS)
  • 18. RETWEETS (ALL USERS) Pirates Labor WikiLeaks Greens Palmer Katter + Nationals Liberals
  • 19. @MENTIONS BETWEEN POLITICIANS
  • 20. RETWEETS BETWEEN POLITICIANS
  • 21. @MENTIONS OF LOCAL CANDIDATES
  • 22. SOME FIRST CONCLUSIONS • Campaigning styles: – Liberal Party: • ‘small target’ strategy (better to remain silent than to make mistakes) • focus on leadership team to avoid negative perceptions of Abbott and gaffes by local candidates – Labor Party: • strong campaigns by many local candidates • lack of coordination across leadership team • Rudd surprising quiet on social media – Greens: • high levels of activity, especially from Milne – too much? • Public resonance: – – – – discussion mainly about leaders, rather than engaging with / retweeting them no partisan choices in @mentions of political candidates strong partisan selectivity in retweets of political candidates, few retweets overall more @mentions of Labor candidates, especially on election night: encouraging?
  • 23. http://mappingonlinepublics.net/ @snurb_dot_info @timhighfield @lena_sauter @jeanburgess @dpwoodford @_StephenH @quods @socialmediaQUT