Tracing Publics in the Australian Blogosphere: New Methods for International Communication Research

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Presented at the "Doing Global Media Studies" preconference of ECREA 2010, 12 October 2010, Bremen. …

Presented at the "Doing Global Media Studies" preconference of ECREA 2010, 12 October 2010, Bremen.

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  • 1. Tracing publics in the Australian blogosphereNew methods for international communication research
    Axel Bruns
    Jean Burgess
    Queensland University of Technology
    Lars Kirchhoff
    Thomas Nicolai
    Sociomantic Labs
  • 2. New Media and Public Communication: Mapping Australian User-Created Content in 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.
    • 3. Computer-assisted cultural analysis: tracking, mapping, analysing blogs, twitter, flickr, youtube as ‘networked publics’
    • 4. Builds on previous work of the research team (UCC, YouTube, blogosphere mapping)
    • 5. Advances beyond established approaches - beyond political blogospheres, beyond snapshots
    • 6. Addressing the problem of scale (‘Big Data’) and disciplinary change in media, cultural and communication studies.
  • theoretical framework
    • changing media ecology (UCC and ‘mainstream’ media)
    • 7. dynamics of public communication (emergent, event-based, affective)
    baseline empirical questions
    • levels of activity?
    • 8. topics of interest?
    • 9. clusters and communities?
    • 10. changes over time?
    • large-scale data gathering
    • 11. development of computer-assisted techniques for both broad and recursively focused analysis
    • 12. identification of key events, clusters and communities
    • 13. close qualitative analysis
    advanced questions: cultural implications
    • Do matters of shared concern activate new connections among different communities/networks?
    • 14. How do acute media ‘events’ transform the media ecology?
  • Tools
    Data Gathering
    Blogs: In-house crawler & database + export tools
    Twitter: Twapperkeeper - in-house crawler in development
    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
  • 15. Analysis – Blogs
  • 16. Bushfires
    Qld Election
    New Sites Added
    Overall Patterns of Activity (Jan.-Aug. 2009)From previous work by Bruns et al
  • 17. Blog Network (between known blogs only)(17 July to 27 August 2010 | 3.4 million links | Node size: Indegree | See:
    arts & crafts
    design and style
  • 18. Analysis – Twitter (Twapperkeeper #hashtag archives)
  • 19. 9
    #masterchef @reply network
    size: indegree
    colour: outdegree
  • 20. 10
    most-tweeted election videos
  • 21. 11
    #ausvotes election themes
  • 22. 12
    towards international and transcultural research
    re-emergence of ‘national’ frames (reterritorialisation; region-specific platform dominance; uptake beyond early adopters)
    both culturally-bound and transcultural ‘issue publics’ (within and beyond the nation-state)
    shared methodologies: possibilities for international comparative and/or collaborative work
    eghashtags that are of interest across national boundaries