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Mapping Online Publics on Twitter

Mapping Online Publics on Twitter



Keynote presented by Axel Bruns and Jean Burgess at the Düsseldorf Workshop on Interdisciplinary Approaches to Twitter Analysis, 14 Sep. 2011.

Keynote presented by Axel Bruns and Jean Burgess at the Düsseldorf Workshop on Interdisciplinary Approaches to Twitter Analysis, 14 Sep. 2011.



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    Mapping Online Publics on Twitter Mapping Online Publics on Twitter Presentation Transcript

    • Mapping Online Publics on Twitter
      Axel Bruns and Jean Burgess
      ARC Centre of Excellence for Creative Industries and Innovation
      Queensland University of Technology
      Brisbane, Australia
      a.bruns / je.burgess@qut.edu.au
      @snurb_dot_info / @jeanburgess
    • Social Media Research in the CCI
      ARC Centre of Excellence for Creative Industries & Innovation (national, based at QUT)
      Project: Media Ecologies & Methodological Innovation
      With Journalism & Media Research Centre (JMRC) @ UNSW
      Aims to implement new methods to understand the changing media environment;
      Focusing on the relationship between social media and traditional media and communication platforms;
      Combining large-scale computer-assisted techniques with qualitative social research and close textual analysis
      Focus on Crisis Communication
      Natural disasters
      Other ‘acute events’
    • New Media and Public Communication: Mapping Australian User-Created Content in Online Social Networks
      Bruns, Burgess, Kirchhoff & Nicolai
      Australian Research Council (ARC): Discovery Project (2010-13) – $410,000
      QUT (Brisbane), Sociomantic Labs (Berlin)
      First comprehensive study of Australian social media use.
      Computer-assisted cultural analysis: tracking, mapping, analysing blogs, twitter, flickr, youtube as ‘networked publics’
      Builds on previous work of the research team (UCC, YouTube, blogosphere mapping)
      Advances beyond established approaches - beyond political blogospheres, beyond snapshots
      Addressing the problem of scale (‘Big Data’) and disciplinary change in media, cultural and communication studies.
    • #hashtags on Twitter
      Hashtag =‘#’ + alphanumeric characters:
      Automatic tracking & aggregation of a topic, represented with a hyperlink
      Originally a (lead) user innovation, later integrated into platform
      Simple, adaptive and generative
      Can coordinate, render visible, and constitute publics
    • #hashtag Publics
      Attend to matters of shared concern with some level of co-awareness
      Varied in intensity and temporality
      Emergent, constituted via discourse & affect
      #hashtag publics:
      Not all hashtags constitute publics; Twitter doesn’t ‘contain’ publics
      What are the various patterns in the dynamics of different hashtag-based publics?
      What might account for these differences?
    • Data Gathering
      yourTwapperkeeper: API-based data capture
      Data Processing
      Gawk – open source, multiplatform, programmable command-line tool for processing CSV documents
      Textual Analysis
      Leximancer – commercial (University of Queensland), multiplatform: extracts key concepts from large corpora of text, examines and visualises concept co-occurrence
      WordStat – commercial, PC-only text analysis tool; generates concept co-occurrence data that can be exported for visualisation
      Gephi – open source, multiplatform network visualisation tool
      Tools for Researching Twitter
    • #ausvotes (July-Aug. 2010)
    • #royalwedding (29 Apr. 2011)
    • #eqnz (Feb./Mar. 2011)
    • #qldfloods: @QPSmedia (Jan. 2011)
    • #ausvotes: Leaders
    • #ausvotes: Themes
    • #spill (23 June 2010)
    • #GoBackSBS (June/July 2011)
    • Comparative Metrics
    • Towards a Typology of Twitter Uses
      How are hashtags used (during acute events)?
      Finding and sharing information about breaking news (before the mainstream media do?)
      Ad hoc publics: many URLs, many retweets (even unedited)
      Shared experience of major (foreseen) events
      Imagined community of fellow participants: few URLs, limited retweeting
      What other uses are there?
      Continuing discussions (#auspol, #bundesliga, …)
      Memes (#ghettohurricanenames, …)
      Emotive hashtags (#fail, #win, #headdesk, …)
      What about keywords?
    • Beyond Hashtags
      Publics on Twitter:
      Micro: @reply and retweet conversations
      Meso: hashtag ‘communities’
      Macro: follower/followee networks
       Multiple overlapping publics / networks
      What drives their formation and dissipation?
      How do they interact and interweave?
      How are they interleaved with the wider media ecology?
      Twitter doesn’t contain publics: publics transcend Twitter
    • Understanding Australian Twitter Use
      What is the Australian Twitteruserbase?
      Large-scale snowballing project
      Starting from selected hashtag communities (e.g. #ausvotes, #qldfloods, #masterchef)
      Identifying participating users, testing for ‘Australianness’:
      Timezone setting, location information, profile information
      Retrieving follower/followee information for each account (very slow)
      Progress update:
      ~550,000 Australian users identified so far
    • The Australian Twittersphere
      Follower/followee network:~150,000 Australian Twitter users(of ~550,000 known accounts so far) colour = outdegree, size = indegree
    • The Australian Twittersphere
    • http://mappingonlinepublics.net/