Exploring Emotions on #auspol: Polarity and Public Performance in the Twitter Debate on Australian Politics
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Exploring Emotions on #auspol: Polarity and Public Performance in the Twitter Debate on Australian Politics

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Paper by Theresa Sauter and Axel Bruns, presented at the Association of Internet Researchers conference, Denver, 26 Oct. 2013.

Paper by Theresa Sauter and Axel Bruns, presented at the Association of Internet Researchers conference, Denver, 26 Oct. 2013.

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Exploring Emotions on #auspol: Polarity and Public Performance in the Twitter Debate on Australian Politics Presentation Transcript

  • 1. Exploring Emotions on # auspol : Polarity and Public Performance in the Tw itter Debate on Australian Politics Dr. Theresa Sauter and Assoc. Prof. Axel Bruns, with Catherine Bub ARC Centre of Excellence for Creative Industries and Innovation Queensland University of Technology Brisbane, Australia t.sauter@qut.edu.au – a.bruns@qut.edu.au @lena_sauter – @snurb_dot_info http://mappingonlinepublics.net/
  • 2. 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: Rudd wins leadership challenge, becomes PM again, calls election Tony Abbott wins the federal election
  • 3. 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: – – – – – Long-term capture of the #auspol hashtag Selection of two key periods in recent Australian politics Quantitative analysis + manual coding (with thanks to Catherine Bub) Further qualitative exploration of tweets and profiles Work in progress
  • 4. AUSTRALIAN POLITICS AND #AUSPOL • #auspol: – Long-standing hashtag for the discussion of Australian politics on Twitter – Very high volume of tweets, strongly concentrated community – Traditionally highly belligerent, dominated by conservatives (?) • Australian politics on Twitter: – Substantial political discussion within and outside #auspol – Large network of politics-focussed accounts, not all participating in #auspol – Alternative hashtags also well-frequented – especially #ausvotes during elections
  • 5. Real Estate Property Jobs HR Business Parenting AUSTRALIAN TWITTERSPHERE Design Web Creative Perth Marketing / PR Farming Agriculture IT Tech News Food Wine Creative Design Social ICTs Fashion Beauty Utilities Services Net Culture Opinion News ALP Progressives (EARLY 2012) Craft Arts Beer NGOs Social Policy Greens Hardline Conservatives Social Media Tech PR Advertising Mums Business Property Books Literature Publishing Adelaide Theatre Film Arts @KRuddMP @JuliaGillard Conservatives Journalists Radio TV Music Triple J Talkback Breakfast TV Cycling Celebrities Dance Hip Hop Union Evangelicals NRL Swimming V8s Football Cricket AFL Christians Teaching Hillsong e-Learning Schools Teens Jonas Bros. Beliebers
  • 6. #AUSPOL (EARLY 2012) Follower/followee network: ~120,000 Australian Twitter users (of ~950,000 known accounts by early 2012) colour = #auspol tweets, size = indegree
  • 7. #AUSVOTES (2010 ELECTION) Follower/followee network: ~120,000 Australian Twitter users (of ~950,000 known accounts by early 2012) colour = #ausvotes tweets, size = indegree
  • 8. #AUSPOL 2013 Rudd/Gillard leadership challenge (successful) Rudd/Gillard leadership challenge (unsuccessful)
  • 9. • Mid-May to mid-June 2013: THE #AUSPOL COMMUNITY • Core group: – 10% most active contributors dominant: – – – Lead users (1%): – – • 49% tweets (May-June) 44% tweets (July) Interactive: – • 84% tweets (May-June) 81% tweets (July) 65% of tweets are @replies or retweets (steady across May-June / July periods) Stable: – Composition of lead user group largely consistent • July 2013:
  • 10. • Mid-May to mid-June 2013: SELECTION OF ACCOUNTS • Patterns: – – – • One hyperactive anti-ALP account: original tweets with URLs Some retweet-only accounts Remaining lead group: 1700-4000 #auspol tweets per month Selection: – – – – Six accounts for each phase Top six senders of @replies in #auspol Four accounts in both phases + 2 unique accounts for phase 1 and 2 each Names anonymised • July 2013:
  • 11. CODING OF TWEETS • Approach: – Every 10th tweet coded: • Attitude towards political party (-5 to +5), for ALP, Liberals, Greens, Others, Mixed • Attitude towards fellow users (-5 to +5), for general accounts and media accounts – Averaging of attitude ratings for each user and each period – Comparison across periods
  • 12. THE USERS: MID-MAY TO MID-JUNE Observations: • Tone towards other users: Tone towards Parties • Tone towards parties: – Vocally negative towards Liberals – Quietly positive towards Labor  used to attack more than support parties – Except 6: strongly negative towards ALP, support for UKIP ALP (#) Lib (#) 1 0.1 (20) -0.73 (97) 2 0.15 (13) -0.57 (107) 3 – Generally neutral to negative (-0.14 to -0.47) – Except 4: +0.17 User 1.37 (8) -1.03 (105) 4 1.67 (18) -1.05 (41) 5 0.5 (8) -1.08 (111) 6 -2.18 (28) 2.67 (3)
  • 13. THE USERS: JULY Observations: • Tone towards other users: Tone towards parties: – Vocally negative towards Liberals – no change – Positive towards Labor – Mixed response to leadership change – Still mainly used to attack rather than support parties • More negative towards media User ALP (#) Lib (#) 1 0.5 ↗ (20) -1.02 (85) 2 – Generally neutral (-0.23 to +0.13) • Tone towards Parties 0.86 ↗ (7) -0.60 (123) 3 0.83 ↘ (6) -1.46 (96) 4 0.27 ↘ (22) -1.06 (47) 7 0.14 (7) -1.06 (76) 8 1.09 (33) -1.04 (117)
  • 14. @MENTIONS MAY-JUNE #auspol accounts with degree ≥ 100 Size = degree, colour = party (politicians only)
  • 15. RETWEETS MAY-JUNE #auspol accounts with degree ≥ 100 Edges which are ≥ 66% retweets only
  • 16. @REPLIES MAY-JUNE #auspol accounts with degree ≥ 100 Edges which are ≤ 33% retweets only
  • 17. @MENTIONS JULY #auspol accounts with degree ≥ 100 Size = degree, colour = party (politicians only)
  • 18. RETWEETS JULY #auspol accounts with degree ≥ 100 Edges which are ≥ 66% retweets only
  • 19. @REPLIES JULY #auspol accounts with degree ≥ 100 Edges which are ≤ 33% retweets only
  • 20. #AUSPOL ACCORDING TO VOTECOMPASS http://votecompass.com/2013/07/25/are-you-among-australias-most-influential-political-tweeters-votecompass-maps-the-auspol-twittersphere/
  • 21. REFLECTIONS • #auspol lead user activity: – Not as conservative-dominated as previously assumed – Several overlapping trends: • Highly partisan retweet networks • Cross-party @replying: criticism of opposition politicians and engagement with fellow #auspol contributors – More criticism than support of parties and leading candidates • Highly discursive users in our May-June / July samples: – Mostly anti-Liberal (but no clear indication of wider #auspol patterns) – Split between anti-Liberal cluster and network centre – Mixed reaction to Gillard/Rudd leadership change – to be continued…
  • 22. http://mappingonlinepublics.net/ @snurb_dot_info @lena_sauter @jeanburgess @dpwoodford @timhighfield @_StephenH @quods @socialmediaQUT