From cotext to context?
Discursive practices in Twitter

       Dr. des. Cornelius Puschmann
   Heinrich-Heine-Universität...
Twitter, Inc

●   founded 2006 in San Francisco
●   originally modeled after multi-SMS services
●   ranked third among soc...
Message presentation in Twitter

●   each user's own messages (tweets) are shown in their timeline in
reverse chronologica...
A user's timeline can
be considered cohesive
when read chronologically
A composite view visually
suggests cohesion, but is
textually incohesive
A formal typology of tweets and users
(Java et al, 2006)

Types of tweets:
●   “daily chatter”
●   “conversations”
●   “sh...
Discursive practices

Three strategies for interweaving timelines:
●   Messaging: use of the @ character to address anothe...
@-Messaging (Honeycut & Herring, 2009)

●   used primarily for conversation
●   “noisy”, but short, dydadic convesations t...
Retweeting (boyd et al, 2010)

●   information sharing is a social practice
●   “the practice contributes to a conversatio...
Hashtagging

●   can “stitch together“ tweets from users who are cospatial (#ir10,
#dgfs09, #hamburg) → spatial anchor
●  ...
Creating shared context from shared cotext:
 “all friends” view




users




                                   “all frie...
Creating shared context from shared cotext:
 @-messaging




users




                                   user5 @user4


 ...
Creating shared context from shared cotext:
 retweeeting




users




                                   retweet


      ...
Creating shared context from shared cotext:
 hashtagging




users



                                   #someevent




  ...
Conclusions

●   each user creates and controls his/her own timeline
●   by contrast, anyone can put together a composite ...
Thanks for listening!
Thanks for listening!
From cotext to context?
Discursive practices in Twitter

       Dr. des. Cornelius Puschmann
   Heinrich-Heine-Universität...
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From cotext to context? Discursive practices in Twitter

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Held on 18 December 2009 in Hamburg. I thank Jannis Androutsopoulos for inviting me.

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From cotext to context? Discursive practices in Twitter

  1. 1. From cotext to context? Discursive practices in Twitter Dr. des. Cornelius Puschmann Heinrich-Heine-Universität Düsseldorf cornelius.puschmann@uni-duesseldorf.de Universität Hamburg, 18 Dezember 2009
  2. 2. Twitter, Inc ● founded 2006 in San Francisco ● originally modeled after multi-SMS services ● ranked third among social networking sites in terms of traffic, following Facebook and MySpace ● 6 million unique monthly visitors and 55 million monthly visits ● API allows development of external applications and portability of data
  3. 3. Message presentation in Twitter ● each user's own messages (tweets) are shown in their timeline in reverse chronological order, mirroring a blog ● subscribing to other users' timelines (following) gives the follower a composite view of the followed users' tweets ● user connections in Twitter are not by default reciprocal ● timelines can be interwoven by various means ● Twitter presents itself as a pastiche of intersecting communicative spaces composed of: ● individual timelines ● dynamic combinations of other timelines (composite views such as “all friends” and search)
  4. 4. A user's timeline can be considered cohesive when read chronologically
  5. 5. A composite view visually suggests cohesion, but is textually incohesive
  6. 6. A formal typology of tweets and users (Java et al, 2006) Types of tweets: ● “daily chatter” ● “conversations” ● “sharing information/URLs” ● “reporting news” Types of users: ● “information sources” ● “friends” ● “information seekers”
  7. 7. Discursive practices Three strategies for interweaving timelines: ● Messaging: use of the @ character to address another user ● Retweeting: reposting another user's tweet (RT) ● Hashtagging: using hashtags to „label“ a tweet (#) Notes: ● forms can be combined (@ + RT + #) ● can realize different functions ● all three are strategies for creating co(n)text
  8. 8. @-Messaging (Honeycut & Herring, 2009) ● used primarily for conversation ● “noisy”, but short, dydadic convesations take place ● ”similar to instant messaging, but more dynamic” ● 31% of tweets with @ are about the addressee ● 51% of tweets without @ are about the twitterer
  9. 9. Retweeting (boyd et al, 2010) ● information sharing is a social practice ● “the practice contributes to a conversational ecology in which conversations are composed of a public interplay of voices that give rise to an emotional sense of shared conversational context“ ● allows “peripheral awareness“ ● 52% of retweets contain a URL ● 18% of retweets contain a hashtag
  10. 10. Hashtagging ● can “stitch together“ tweets from users who are cospatial (#ir10, #dgfs09, #hamburg) → spatial anchor ● can stitch together thematically related tweets (#linguistics, #unibrennt) → thematic anchor ● are also frequently used to provide a meta-comment on the content of the tweet (#fail) → comment-type
  11. 11. Creating shared context from shared cotext: “all friends” view users “all friends” view time(lines)
  12. 12. Creating shared context from shared cotext: @-messaging users user5 @user4 time(lines)
  13. 13. Creating shared context from shared cotext: retweeeting users retweet time(lines)
  14. 14. Creating shared context from shared cotext: hashtagging users #someevent time(lines)
  15. 15. Conclusions ● each user creates and controls his/her own timeline ● by contrast, anyone can put together a composite view by searching, creating a list etc ● @-messaging, retweeting and hashtagging are (among other things) strategies for interweaving timelines ● the arranged cohesion of composite views underpins the “emotional sense of shared coversational context” (boyd) ● cotext and context create and reinforce each other
  16. 16. Thanks for listening! Thanks for listening!
  17. 17. From cotext to context? Discursive practices in Twitter Dr. des. Cornelius Puschmann Heinrich-Heine-Universität Düsseldorf cornelius.puschmann@uni-duesseldorf.de Universität Hamburg, 18 Dezember 2009

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