Mapping the Australian Twittersphere
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Mapping the Australian Twittersphere

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Paper presented at Digital Humanities Australasia 2012, Canberra, 30 Mar. 2012.

Paper presented at Digital Humanities Australasia 2012, Canberra, 30 Mar. 2012.

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  • 1. Mapping theAustralian TwittersphereAssoc. Prof. Axel Bruns, Dr. Jean BurgessARC Centre of Excellence for Creative Industries and InnovationQueensland University of Technology, Brisbane, Australiaa.bruns@qut.edu.au – @snurb_dot_info / je.burgess@qut.edu.au - @jeanburgesshttp://mappingonlinepublics.net/Dr. Lars Kirchhoff, Dr. Thomas NicolaiSociomantic Labs, Berlin, Germanyhttp://sociomantic.com/ http://mappingonlinepublics.net/
  • 2. Why Twitter?o Researching Twitter: o Significant world-wide social network o ~200 million users (but how many active?) o Varied range of uses: from phatic communication to emergency coordination o Healthy third-party ecosystem (for now) o Strong history of user innovation: @replies, #hashtags o Flat and open network structure: non-reciprocal following, public profiles by default o Good API for gathering data for research http://mappingonlinepublics.net/
  • 3. New Media and Public Communication: Mapping Australian User-Created Content in Online Social Networkso Australian Research Council (ARC) Discovery Project (2010- 13) – $410,000 o QUT (Brisbane), Sociomantic Labs (Berlin) o First comprehensive study of Australian social media use o Computer-assisted cultural analysis: tracking, mapping, analysing blogs, Twitter, Flickr, YouTube as ‘networked publics’ o Builds on previous work of the research team (UCC, YouTube, blogosphere mapping) o Advances beyond established approaches – beyond political blogospheres, beyond snapshots o Addressing the problem of scale (‘Big Data’) and disciplinary change in media, cultural and communication studies – natively digital methods o Studying society with the Internet (Richard Rogers) http://mappingonlinepublics.net/
  • 4. #hashtag Publicso #hashtags o ‘#’ + keyword makes tweets easily discoverable and marks themes o E.g. #ausvotes, #qldvotes, #qldfloods, #fail, #headdesk, #facepalmero Publics o Attend to matters of shared concern with some level of co-awareness o Varied in intensity and temporality o Emergent, constituted via discourse & affecto #hashtag publics o Not all hashtags constitute publics; Twitter doesn’t ‘contain’ publics o What are the various patterns in the dynamics of different hashtag-based publics? o What might account for these differences? http://mappingonlinepublics.net/
  • 5. #ausvotes: Leaders http://mappingonlinepublics.net/
  • 6. #qldfloods Tweets10 Jan 2011 11 Jan 2011 12 Jan 2011 13 Jan 2011 14 Jan 2011 15 Jan 2011 http://mappingonlinepublics.net/
  • 7. Towards Comparative Metrics http://mappingonlinepublics.net/
  • 8. Beyond Hashtagso Publics on Twitter: o Micro: @reply and retweet conversations o Meso: hashtag ‘communities’ o Macro: follower/followee networks Multiple overlapping publics / networkso What drives their formation and dissipation?o How do they interact and interweave?o How are they interleaved with the wider media ecology?o Twitter doesn’t contain publics: publics transcend Twitter http://mappingonlinepublics.net/
  • 9. Understanding Australian Twitter Useo What is the Australian Twitter userbase? o Large-scale snowballing project o Starting from selected hashtag communities (e.g. #ausvotes, #qldfloods, #masterchef) o Identifying participating users, testing for ‘Australianness’: o Timezone setting, location information, profile information o Retrieving follower/followee information for each account (very slow)o Progress update: o ~950,000 Australian users identified so far, ~21m connections  ~2 million Australian users in total? http://mappingonlinepublics.net/
  • 10. The Australian Twittersphere? Follower/followee network: ~150,000 Australian Twitter users (of ~550,000 known accounts by mid-2011) colour = outdegree, size = indegree http://mappingonlinepublics.net/
  • 11. The Australian Twittersphere? Follower/followee network: ~120,000 Australian Twitter users (of ~950,000 known accounts by early 2012) colour = outdegree, size = indegree
  • 12. Real Estate Jobs Property HR Business Parenting Thematic Clusters Design Business Property Mums Craft Arts Web Social Media Creative Tech Food Perth PR Wine Marketing / PR Advertising IT Beer Tech Creative Social Design ICTs NGOs Fashion Utilities Farming Social Policy Beauty Services Agriculture Net Culture Adelaide Opinion Books Theatre Greens News Literature Film Arts Publishing ALP Hardline Progressives News @KRuddMPConservatives @JuliaGillard Radio Conservatives TV Music Journalists Triple J Talkback Dance Breakfast TV Hip Hop Cycling Celebrities Union Evangelicals Swimming NRL V8s Football Teens Christians Cricket Teaching Hillsong AFL e-Learning Schools Jonas Bros. Beliebers
  • 13. Automatic Cluster Detection Follower/followee network: ~120,000 Australian Twitter users (of ~950,000 known accounts by early 2012) colour = clusters, size = indegree
  • 14. Automatic Cluster Detection Follower/followee network: ~120,000 Australian Twitter users (of ~950,000 known accounts by early 2012) colour = clusters, size = indegree
  • 15. #Hashtag Participation Follower/followee network: ~120,000 Australian Twitter users (of ~950,000 known accounts by early 2012) size = indegree
  • 16. #auspol Follower/followee network: ~120,000 Australian Twitter users (of ~950,000 known accounts by early 2012) colour = #auspol tweets, size = indegree
  • 17. #ausvotes Follower/followee network: ~120,000 Australian Twitter users (of ~950,000 known accounts by early 2012) colour = #ausvotes tweets, size = indegree
  • 18. #wikileaks Follower/followee network: ~120,000 Australian Twitter users (of ~950,000 known accounts by early 2012) colour = #wikileaks tweets, size = indegree
  • 19. #qldfloods Follower/followee network: ~120,000 Australian Twitter users (of ~950,000 known accounts by early 2012) colour = #qldfloods tweets, size = indegree
  • 20. #eqnz Follower/followee network: ~120,000 Australian Twitter users (of ~950,000 known accounts by early 2012) colour = #eqnz tweets, size = indegree
  • 21. #egypt Follower/followee network: ~120,000 Australian Twitter users (of ~950,000 known accounts by early 2012) colour = #egypt tweets, size = indegree
  • 22. #aflgf Follower/followee network: ~120,000 Australian Twitter users (of ~950,000 known accounts by early 2012) colour = #aflgf tweets, size = indegree
  • 23. #nrlgf Follower/followee network: ~120,000 Australian Twitter users (of ~950,000 known accounts by early 2012) colour = #nrlgf tweets, size = indegree
  • 24. #masterchef Follower/followee network: ~120,000 Australian Twitter users (of ~950,000 known accounts by early 2012) colour = #masterchef tweets, size = indeg.
  • 25. #eurovision Follower/followee network: ~120,000 Australian Twitter users (of ~950,000 known accounts by early 2012) colour = #eurovision tweets, size = indegree
  • 26. #royalwedding Follower/followee network: ~120,000 Australian Twitter users (of ~950,000 known accounts by early 2012) colour = #royalwedding tweets, size = indeg.
  • 27. theaustralian.com.au URLs Follower/followee network: ~120,000 Australian Twitter users (of ~950,000 known accounts by early 2012) colour = tweets with URLs, size = indegree
  • 28. abc.net.au URLs Follower/followee network: ~120,000 Australian Twitter users (of ~950,000 known accounts by early 2012) colour = tweets with URLs, size = indegree
  • 29. ABC accounts Follower/followee network: ~120,000 Australian Twitter users (of ~950,000 known accounts by early 2012) blue: official, red: personal ABC accounts
  • 30. Understanding Twitter Publicso #hashtags: o Useful coordinating mechanism for core discussion o Relatively easy to capture and analyse o Fails to capture non-hashtagged tweets about the topic o Good case studies, but very little comparative work to dateo National / global Twittersphere maps o Crucial contextual baseline for #hashtag case studies o Slow and laborious data gathering process, never complete o Very long-term perspective, beyond most funded projects o Indispensable for study of Twitter as a public space http://mappingonlinepublics.net/
  • 31. ‘Big Data’ and the Digital Humanitieso Emerging needs in Twitter research: o Unified, compatible methods and metrics for Twitter analysis  Tools and approaches shared at http://mappingonlinepublics.net/ o Powerful infrastructure for long-term, high-volume tracking of Australian public communication on Twitter  Data access requires substantial funding stream o Facilities for long-term data storage and preservation  Key roles for National Library, National Archives o Integration with related datasets (e.g. MSM content)  Need to address data interoperability questionso Twitter as a test case for digital humanities research o Widespread, open, public platform for everyday communication o Tool for observing society at scale through Internet research http://mappingonlinepublics.net/
  • 32. http://mappingonlinepublics.net/@snurb_dot_info@jeanburgess http://mappingonlinepublics.net/