Mapping the AustralianTwittersphereJean Burgess & Axel Bruns@jeanburgess @snurb_dot_infohttp://mappingonlinepublics.net/Queensland University of Technology
NEW MEDIA AND PUBLIC COMMUNICATION:MAPPING AUSTRALIAN USER-CREATED CONTENTIN ONLINE SOCIAL NETWORKS• 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’– Motivated by media, communication & cultural studies’ concerns; combiningquantitative analytics with qualitative analysis
‘BIG DATA’ & INTERNET RESEARCH• Big Data as currency across the sciences and social sciences• Business intelligence & ‘data markets’ (including social media &online behavioral data).• ‘Computational turn’ in new humanities research: shift fromcomputational tools to a new computational paradigm, changing theontologies and epistemologies of humanities research (Berry, 2012).• Eg shift from ‘close’ to ‘distant’ reading (Moretti); ‘software studies’(eg Fuller, 2008) and ANT approaches to new media platforms;• From ‘virtual’/trad social research methods to ‘natively’ digitalmethods to diagnose patterns of social change (Rogers, 2009).
• Data Gathering– yourTwapperkeeper + in-house crawler– Reliant on Twitter API• Data Processing– Custom Gawk scripts – open source, multiplatform,programmable command-line tool for processing CSVdocuments• Analytics & Visualisation– Gephi – open source, multiplatform network visualisation tool– MS Excel – comparative metrics, codingA TWITTER RESEARCH TOOLKIT
#HASHTAG PUBLICS• Publics– Attend to matters of shared concern with some level of co-awareness– Varied in intensity and temporality– Emergent, constituted via discourse & affect• #hashtags– ‘#’ + keyword makes tweets easily discoverable and marks themes– E.g. #ausvotes, #qldfloods, #mit8, #swag, #nofilter, …• #hashtag publics– Not all hashtags constitute publics; hashtags don’t represent the sum ofengagement with these topics on Twitter; Twitter doesn’t ‘contain’ publics– What are the patterns in the dynamics of different hashtag-based publics?– What might account for these differences?
#QLDFLOODS TWEETS10 Jan 2011 11 Jan 2011 12 Jan 2011 13 Jan 2011 14 Jan 2011 15 Jan 2011
MAPPING THE AUSTRALIAN TWITTERSPHERE• Snowballing: what is the Australian user-base?• Starting from selected hashtag communities in 2010(e.g. #ausvotes, #qldfloods, #masterchef)• Identifying participating accounts, testing for ‘Australianness’:• Timezone setting, location information, profile information• Retrieving follower/followee information for each account (very slow)• Progress update (end 2012):• ~1.06 million Australian accounts identified so far• ~2 million Australian accounts in total?
DISCLAIMERSThe map is not the territory(Korzybski)…and certainly not thedestination
Follower/followee network:~120,000 Australian Twitter users(of ~950,000 known accounts by early 2012)colour = outdegree, size = indegree