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Twitter and the new regime of audience measurement


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Presentation at the "Düsseldorf Workshop on Interdisciplinary Approaches to Twitter Analysis", 14./15.9.2011

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Twitter and the new regime of audience measurement

  1. 1. Twitter and the new regime of audience measurement<br />@JanSchmidt <br />Düsseldorf, 14.9.2011<br />
  2. 2. Context & Agenda<br /><ul><li>Work on social web and audience is part of…
  3. 3. … research programme „Betweenreception, interaction, andproduction– changingusers‘ rolesin convergingmedia“ at the Hans-Bredow-Institute
  4. 4. Upcoming 2.5-year-project „(Re-)Discovery oftheaudience“ (fundedby DFG)
  5. 5. Short report „Audiencemetrics 2.0“ for ZDF
  6. 6. Various research & publication projects on the transformation of the public sphere</li></ul>Perspectives on „audience“ and „audience measurement“<br />Twitter and audience measurement<br />An emerging regime?<br />Audience Measurement<br />2 of 10<br />
  7. 7. Three Perspectives on Audience<br />Audience as recipients<br /><ul><li>Audience as sum of all receivers of media content;
  8. 8. Considered to be more or less active (passive consumption vs. active selection and engagement with media content)</li></ul>Audience as product<br /><ul><li>„manufactured audience“ asmaincommodityproducedbymediaindustry(Smythe1977)
  9. 9. „audience labor“ as dominant activity: media consumption as reproduction of capitalist workforce and training to participate in capitalist consumption society</li></ul>Audience as empowered networks<br /><ul><li>Produsageas new mode of media use (Bruns 2008)
  10. 10. Participative mediation is complementing technical and professional mediation in networked public spheres (Neuberger/Nuernbergk/Rischke 2009)
  11. 11. Audience management as important part of self-disclosure and privacy in personal public spheres (Schmidt 2011) </li></ul> <br />Audience Measurement<br />3 of 10<br />
  12. 12. Regimes of audience measurement<br /><ul><li>Regime of audience measurement: relatively stable constellation of actors, technologies and practices which produce, with specific interests and within specific power relations, accepted data on size, composition and activities of media audience.
  13. 13. Regime of audience measurement in TV has stabilized over 60+ years: Usually monopolized system of „joint industry committees“ where broadcasters and advertisers put out tenders to specialized research companies (big players: AGB-Nielsen, TNS, GfK Telecontrol)
  14. 14. Trends in broadcast media audience measurement (following Bermejo 2009)
  15. 15. Automated, non-reactive „while you watch“-measuring
  16. 16. Individualized (instead of household-based) measuring
  17. 17. Measuring contact with smaller / shorter pieces of content
  18. 18. Near-live transfer and aggregation of measured data</li></ul>Twitter (and other online media) is furthering these trends<br />Audience Measurement<br />4 of 10<br />
  19. 19. Articulatingthe audience on Twitter<br />Twitter’s communicative architecture is…<br />… organizing communication and information selection along articulated social connections (followers – followees)<br /><ul><li>Structures of the networked audience (clustering; centrality-periphery-patterns, etc.) can be measured</li></ul>… making visible communicative references (@-replies; Re-Tweets; Fav’s; common hashtags; …)<br /><ul><li>Reach, fluidity and viral spread of de-bundled „microcontent“ as well as of particular issues can be assessed
  20. 20. Follow-up communication“ can be monitored</li></ul>… making these information available via API’s<br /><ul><li>Both structure and communication (content & dynamic) within audience is accessible to others</li></ul> Twitter is affording extended metrics for audience measurement<br />Audience Measurement<br />5 of 10<br />
  21. 21. Metrics 2.0<br />Audience Measurement<br />6 of 10<br />
  22. 22. Assessingthequalityofindicators<br /><ul><li>For media companies (as for others interested in twitter metrics), various aspects of data quality are important, but yet unanswered </li></ul>Manipulation: e.g. Fake-Accounts & Astroturfing; buyingfollowers & retweets; Twitter Spam<br />2nd orderreactivity: real usersgiveincorrect personal informationbecausetheydon‘ttrusttheintermediary<br />Openingthe „blackbox“: Howisdataconstructed by twitter or other services? Whatalgorithmsareusedtomeasureinfluence, popularity, centrality, etc.?<br />Puttingmetricsintocontext: e.g. over time; comparedtootheractivities; comparedtoindicatorsfrom different platforms<br />Audience Measurement<br />7 of 10<br />
  23. 23. Emerging regime? <br /><ul><li>Regime ofaudiencemeasurement: relativelystable constellation of actors, technologiesandpractices which produce, withspecificinterestsandwithinspecific power relations, accepteddata on size, composition and activities of mediaaudience.
  24. 24. Twitter is not only affording communication, but also aggregating and providing data – control over code and data provides powerful position
  25. 25. Additional actors include (media) companies, market researchers, academic researchers, consulting agencies, … who develop and establish their own methods and reports (e.g. Deutsche Twittercharts; Social Media Ranking; …)
  26. 26. Rapid technological innovation in terms of procedures and algorithms to automate the monitoring, aggregation, analysis, display etc. of audience data
  27. 27. No stable constellation… yet?
  28. 28. Twitter - for monetarization - as well as (media) companies – for evaluation of their activities on Twitter - have interest in establishing agreed-upon indicators and procedures
  29. 29. Technological dynamic, possibly also the transnational and transculturual nature of Twitter might prohibit stabilization of measurement regimes
  30. 30. Combination of science, control, consensus on procedure and trust has allowed previous regimes to emerge (Bourdon/Méadel 2011) – will the same happen with Twitter?</li></ul>Audience Measurement<br />8 of 10<br />
  31. 31. Reflecting the implications<br /><ul><li>Changing regime of audience measurement is bringing about new questions
  32. 32. How to compensate the working audience, when audience measurement is becoming „a process of appropriation – commercialization or commodification – of interactivity“ (Bermejo 2009, 149)
  33. 33. Are the „people formerly known as the audience“ also becoming self-aware as an audience? Might this even lead to strategic action (e.g. collectively exerting power to influence indicators)?
  34. 34. How is privacy and data protection maintained when all personal and interaction data is stored and monitored? Can informed consent to data-mining be pre-supposed?
  35. 35. … [probably many many more.. ]</li></ul>Audience Measurement<br />9 of 10<br />
  36. 36. Thank you!<br />Dr. Jan-Hinrik Schmidt<br />Hans-Bredow-Institut<br />Warburgstr. 8-10, 20354 Hamburg<br /><br /> <br /><br /><br />
  37. 37. Literature<br /><ul><li>Bermejo, F. (2009): Audience manufacture in historical perspective: from broadcasting to Google. In: New Media & Society, 11(1/2): 133-154.
  38. 38. Bourdon, J.; Méadel, C. (2011): Inside television audience measurement: Deconstructing the ratings machine. In: Media, Culture & Society, 33(5): 791-800.
  39. 39. Bruns, A. (2008): Blogs, Wikipedia, Second Life, and beyond. From production to produsage. New York u.a.: Peter Lang.
  40. 40. Neuberger, C.; Nuernbergk, C.; Rischke, M. (2009): Journalismus im Internet: Profession, Partizipation, Technisierung. Wiesbaden: VS.
  41. 41. Schiffers, O. (2010): Tools und Kennzahlen für das Social Web. In: Brauckmann, P. (Hg.): Web-Monitoring. Konstanz: UVK. 267-286.
  42. 42. Schmidt, J. (2011): (Micro)Blogs: Practices of Privacy Management. In: Trepte, S.; Reinecke, L. (Eds.): Privacy Online. Heidelberg: Springer.
  43. 43. Smythe, D. (1977): Communications: blindspot of Western Marxism. In: Canadian Journal of Political and Social Theory, 2(2): 1-27.</li>