#Eurovision: Twitter as a Technology of Fandom

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Paper presented at the Association of Internet Researchers conference, Salford, 19-21 Oct. 2012.

Paper presented at the Association of Internet Researchers conference, Salford, 19-21 Oct. 2012.

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  • 1. #Eurovision:Twitter as a Technology ofFandomAxel Bruns, Tim Highfield, and Stephen HarringtonARC Centre of Excellence for Creative Industries and InnovationQueensland University of TechnologyBrisbane, Australiaa.bruns | t.highfield | s.harrington @ qut.edu.au@snurb_dot_info | @timhighfield | @_StephenHhttp://mappingonlinepublics.net/
  • 2. TWITTER, TELEVISION, AND FANDOM• Twitter and television: – Key role for Twitter in second-screen activities – Major peaks in Twitter activity around televised events – Important factor in driving audiences back to live viewing (http://yearinreview.twitter.com/en/tps.html)
  • 3. TWITTER AND TELEVISION• Four intersecting dimensions: – Tweeting about TV • Twitter as a virtual loungeroom, especially for live feedback – Tweets as audience research • Empirical evidence of ‘audiencing’ as it happens – Tweeting for TV • Direct incorporation into the show, especially live – Twitter-enhanced ways of watching TV • All of the above, and more – towards transmedia experiences (Harrington, Highfield, & Bruns, 2012)
  • 4. TELEVISION HASHTAGS (AND MORE)• Hashtags: – Key mechanism for connecting audiences – Ability to reach beyond one’s personal follower network• Hashtags and television: – Often pre-advertised by shows and broadcasters, or created ad hoc by audiences – Easy for audiences to follow during the live broadcast (but do they, or do they only participate without reading?)• But also: – Dedicated accounts related to a specific show (broadcasters and celebrities; fans, including spoof accounts)
  • 5. LIVE IS BACK• Twitter and the live experience: – Twitter is more effective for live coverage than Facebook: • Short messages + public hashtags = more immediate reach – Live audience communion around specific shows: • Sports and other live events, but also first-run broadcasts – Antidote to time-shifted viewing practices (PVRs etc.) – Broadcasters back in control of viewers’ experience – Sustaining a declining advertising market
  • 6. #EUROVISION• Eurovision Song Contest: – Pan-European event, held since 1956 – Operated by European Broadcasting Union – One song entry per country, live performance on the night – Past winners include ABBA, Celine Dion, and Lordi• 2012: – Host city: Baku, Azerbaijan – 42 countries participating; two semis + final event – Votes from each country are tallied and decide winner – Television audience: 100+ million world-wide – Live broadcast throughout Europe; delayed in Australia
  • 7. #EUROVISION AND TV• Cult following: – Change in audience attitudes over past decade – From earnest contest to ironic detachment – Eurovision as festival of pseudonational kitsch – Strong gay audience at least since Dana International win – Half-serious commentary on intra-EU relationships – Broadcast in Australia by minority PSB SBS since 1986• Terry Wogan: – Long-standing BBC commentator (until 2008) – Famous for snarky, acerbic commentary – Similar tone adopted by many social media users
  • 8. #EUROVISION, #SBSEUROVISION 2012• Dates: – Semi-final 1: 22 May 2012 (SBS: 25 May 2012) – Semi-final 2: 24 May 2012 (SBS: 26 May 2012) – Final: 26 May 2012 (SBS: 27 May 2012)• Datasets: – #Eurovision: 22-28 May 2012; 688k tweets; 271k users – #esc: 22-28 May 2012; 167k tweets; 48k users – ‘Eurovision’: 22-28 May 2012; 1.2m tweets; 509k users – #SBSEurovision: 25-28 May 2012; 112k tweets; 20k users – Most activity during live broadcasts themselves: #Eurovision: 85%; #esc: 88%; #SBSEurovision: 98%
  • 9. DISTRIBUTION OF ENGAGEMENTBroadcast and date #eurovision #esc Broadcast and date #sbseurovisionSemi-final 1 214,579 tw, 47,416 tweets, Semi-final 1 39,950 tweets,(22 May – 6 hours) 82,913 users 13,715 users (25 May) 8486 usersSemi-final 2 157,745 tw, 54,584 tweets, Semi-final 2 25,500 tweets,(24 May – 6 hours) 50,771 users 15,215 users (26 May) 6175 usersFinal 214,837 tw, 45,458 tweets, Final 45,213 tweets,(26 May – 10 hours) 133,475 users 21,994 users (27 May) 10,093 usersEntire week 688,255 tw, 167,680 tw, Wider period 112,836 tweets,(22-28 May) 271,826 users 48,546 users (25-28 May) 20,418 users% tweets during 85.3% 87.9% % tweets during 98.1%* (shorterbroadcast periods broadcast periods period tracked)
  • 10. 1000 1500 2000 2500 500 021:0021:0321:0621:09 Montenegro21:1221:1521:1821:21 tweets per minute21:24 Albania21:2721:3021:3321:3621:3921:4221:4521:4821:5121:5421:5722:00 Russia22:0322:0622:0922:1222:15 #EUROVISION: SEMI-FINAL 122:18 Ireland22:2122:2422:2722:3022:3322:3622:3922:4222:4522:4822:5122:5422:57 Russia and Ireland advance23:00
  • 11. (http://www.eurovision.tv/page/history/year/participant-profile/?song=27713)RUSSIA
  • 12. (http://www.eurovision.tv/page/history/year/participant-profile/?song=27733)IRELAND
  • 13. 1000 1200 200 400 600 800 020:4020:4320:4620:4920:5220:5520:58 Albania21:01 tweets per minute21:0421:0721:1021:1321:1621:1921:22 Switzerland21:2521:28 San Marino21:3121:3421:37 Russia21:4021:4321:4621:4921:52 Austria21:5521:5822:01 Ireland22:04 #SBSEUROVISION: SEMI-FINAL 122:0722:1022:1322:1622:1922:2222:2522:2822:3122:34 Results / technical problems22:3722:40
  • 14. 1000 1200 1400 200 400 600 800 021:0021:0421:0821:1221:1621:2021:24 Albania / Lithuania21:2821:3221:36 Russia21:40 tweets per minute21:4421:4821:5221:56 Estonia22:0022:0422:0822:1222:16 Greece22:2022:2422:2822:32 Spain22:36 #EUROVISION: FINAL22:4022:4422:48 Ireland22:5222:56 Ukraine23:0023:04 Start of voting period23:0823:1223:16 End of voting period23:2023:2423:2823:32 Results tally starts23:3623:4023:4423:4823:5223:56 0:00 0:04 0:08 Mr. Lordi: Finnish results 0:12 0:16 0:20 0:24 0:28
  • 15. 1000 1200 200 400 600 800 019:3019:3519:4019:4519:5019:5520:0020:0520:1020:15 Russia tweets per minute20:2020:25 France20:30 Italy20:3520:4020:4520:5020:55 Romania21:0021:0521:10 Sweden / Turkey21:1521:2021:25 Malta21:3021:35 Ireland21:40 #SBSEUROVISION: FINAL21:45 Ukraine21:5021:5522:0022:0522:1022:1522:2022:2522:3022:3522:4022:4522:5022:55 Mr. Lordi: Finnish results23:0023:0523:1023:1523:2023:2523:30
  • 16. MR. LORDI: FINNISH RESULTS (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=npQ8LpV2jG0)
  • 17. (http://www.eurovision.tv/page/history/year/participant-profile/?song=27943)THE WINNER: SWEDEN
  • 18. #EUROVISION, 22-28 MAY 2012 Spain Turkey Greece Serbia Sweden Jedward Malta France Albania UK Human Rights Italy Ireland (indegree 10+)
  • 19. #ESC, 22-28 MAY 2012 Sweden Sweden Serbia Sweden Italy Germany Austria (indegree 10+)
  • 20. NOTABLE RESULTS• Hashtag divergence: – #Eurovision vs. #esc: Europe vs. Sweden, Germany, … – Different lead users for each hashtag community – Performers and broadcaster accounts prominent – Language differences, but also interconnections• #SBSEurovision: – Separate hashtag for delayed telecast – Effective at least for Australian east coast audiences (AEST): substantial ‘live’ audience in spite of pre-determined outcome – Limited engagement by central / western viewers, due to further timezone differences
  • 21. NOTABLE RESULTS• Terry Wogan’s legacy continues: – Strong focus on (quasi-) comedy acts (e.g. Russia, Ireland) – Clear evidence of ironic viewer detachment (and ironic voting?) – Comedians prominent amongst most retweeted accounts: RT @Queen_UK: Ok people, get voting for Greece. If only for the look on the faces of European central bankers. #eurovision – But also reactions against national stereotyping: Do you enjoy casual racism? Join the Twitter conversation at #SBSeurovision
  • 22. FURTHER OUTLOOK• Opportunities for broadcasters: – Strong engagement by audiences: • Possibility for more direct incorporation of tweets – Important to understand diverging motivations for participation: • E.g. general audiences vs. dedicated fans of specific acts• Open questions: – Who is represented here? • Dedicated fans may seek to game the system – Depth vs. breadth of engagement: • Few highly active users or many less active participants?  Potential distinction between ‘fandom’ and ‘audiencing’
  • 23. http://mappingonlinepublics.net/@snurb_dot_info@jeanburgess@_StephenH@DrTNitins@timhighfield@cdtavijit