Your SlideShare is downloading. ×
Twitter, Public Communication and the Media Ecology: The Case of the Queensland Floods
Upcoming SlideShare
Loading in...5

Thanks for flagging this SlideShare!

Oops! An error has occurred.

Saving this for later? Get the SlideShare app to save on your phone or tablet. Read anywhere, anytime – even offline.
Text the download link to your phone
Standard text messaging rates apply

Twitter, Public Communication and the Media Ecology: The Case of the Queensland Floods


Published on

Presented by Axel Bruns and Jean Burgess at the ATN-DAAD workshop The World According to Twitter, Brisbane, 27 June 2011. …

Presented by Axel Bruns and Jean Burgess at the ATN-DAAD workshop The World According to Twitter, Brisbane, 27 June 2011.

Part of an ongoing collaboration between the Mapping Online Publics project ( at the ARC Centre of Excellence for Creative Industries and Innovation, QUT, Australia (, and the Nachwuchsforschergruppe Wissenschaft und Internet, Universität Düsseldorf, Germany (

Published in: Education, Technology, Business
1 Comment
1 Like
No Downloads
Total Views
On Slideshare
From Embeds
Number of Embeds
Embeds 0
No embeds

Report content
Flagged as inappropriate Flag as inappropriate
Flag as inappropriate

Select your reason for flagging this presentation as inappropriate.

No notes for slide


  • 1. Twitter, Public Communication and the Media Ecology:The Case of the Queensland Floods
    Assoc. Prof. Axel Bruns / Dr. Jean BurgessARC Centre of Excellence for Creative Industries & Innovation
    Queensland University of Technology
  • 2. 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’
  • 3. 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.
  • 4. theoretical framework
    • changing media ecology (UCC and ‘mainstream’ media)
    • 5. dynamics of public communication (emergent, event-based, affective)
    baseline empirical questions
    • levels of activity?
    • 6. topics of interest?
    • 7. clusters and communities?
    • 8. changes over time?
    • large-scale data gathering
    • 9. development of computer-assisted techniques for both broad and recursively focused analysis
    • 10. identification of key events, clusters and communities
    • 11. close qualitative analysis
    advanced questions: cultural implications
    • do matters of shared concern activate new connections among different communities/networks?
    • 12. how do acute media ‘events’ transform the media ecology?
  • Data Gathering
    Blogs: In-house crawler & database + export tools
    Twitter: YourTwapperkeeper + in-house crawler
    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
  • 13. Analysis – Twapperkeeper (#hashtags)
  • 14. Crisis Communication Research in the CCI
    Jan.-June 2011
    Focus on uses of social media during the Qld Floods
    Archive of tweets using #qldfloodshashtag
    Volume of tweets over time
    @replies and retweets: key actors and their networks
    URLs: key media resources, user-uploaded images and videos
    Emergence and uptake of hashtags and other user conventions
    Content analysis: themes and purposes over time
  • 15. Twitter and the Queensland Floods: #qldfloods tweets
    10 Jan. 2011 11 Jan. 2011 12 Jan. 2011 13 Jan. 2011 14 Jan. 2011 15 Jan. 2011
  • 16. Local Focus: #qldfloods from Toowoomba to Brisbane
    Toowoomba vs. Lockyer/Grantham vs. Ipswich vs. Brisbane slide
    10 Jan. 2011 11 Jan. 2011 12 Jan. 2011 13 Jan. 2011 14 Jan. 2011 15 Jan. 2011
  • 17. Twitter and the Queensland Floods: #qldfloods posters
    retweet feeds
    mainstream media
    Qld Police
  • 18. Twitter and the Queensland Floods: #qldfloods @replies
    mainstream media
  • 19. Twitter and the Christchurch Earthquake: #eqnz @replies
    mainstream media
  • 20. Key Accounts over Time
  • 21. @QPSmedia as Central #qldfloods Information Source
  • 22. Case study: @QPSMedia
  • 23. #qldfloods Network Map – Most Active Accounts Only(Degree >= 15 / Node size: indegree / node colour: outdegree)
  • 24. Twitter and the Queensland Floods
    First lessons:
    #qldfloods as coordinating tool – one central hashtag
    Go where the users are – and help establish hashtag
    Plus inventive additions – e.g. @QPSmedia #Mythbuster tweets
    Most activity by individuals – but key official accounts cut through
    Enable easy retweeting and sharing of messages
    Respond and engage – value voluntary contributions from ‘average’ users
    Mainstream media are important in social media environments, too
    Twitter as an amplifier of key messages
    Twitter vs. Facebook – which works when?
  • 25. Twitter and the Japanese Tsunami: Beyond the #Hashtag
  • 26. Twitter Events in Perspective: Comparing the Main 24h
  • 27. Next Steps in Crisis Communication Research
    More forensics: successes and failures, especially rumours and misinformation
    Further comparison with other recent natural disasters
    Comparing mainstream and social media coverage
    Social context: in-depth interviews with residents
    Direct engagement with emergency services, government and media
  • 28. Beyond Crises
    Where to from here? Further applications:
    Identifying overall Twitter participation patterns – key themes, key users
    How does information travel across the Twittersphere?
    How can we ensure and enhance the distribution of important messages?
    What is the structure of the Twitter community?
    Mapping online publics: network structure, clusters, interconnections, themes
    Identifying key participants: opinion leaders, information hubs, connectors
    Change over time: fluidity of network structures, response to stimuli
    How does Twitter sit in the wider media ecology?
    Use of materials from elsewhere: distribution of attention through links
    Interconnections between Twitter and other media: tweets about TV, newspapers, ...
  • 29. 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
  • 30.
  • 31. Football (rugby)
    Football (soccer)
    Twitter Celebrities
    South Australia
    Media, Journalism, Politics
    Follower/followee network:~40,000 Australian Twitter users(of ~440,000 known accounts so far) in-degree 20+, dark lines = mutual,colour = indegree, size = outdegree
  • 32.
    Image by campoalto