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#auspol, #qldpol, and #wapol: Twitter and the new Australian political commentariat

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#auspol, #qldpol, and #wapol: Twitter and the new Australian political commentariat

  1. 1. #auspol, #qldpol, and #wapol: Twitter and the new Australian political commentariat Tim Highfield, Axel Bruns, and Stephen Harrington ARC Centre of Excellence for Creative Industries and Innovation Queensland University of Technology Brisbane, Australia t.highfield | a.bruns | s.harrington @ qut.edu.au @timhighfield | @snurb_dot_info | @_StephenH http://mappingonlinepublics.net/
  2. 2. AUSTRALIAN POLITICS ONLINE • 2007 election campaign – Kevin 07, psephology blogs • Political blogs – Not widely taken up by politicians, confrontational relationship at times between bloggers and mainstream media – Similar relationship at times developed on Twitter • GrogsGate • Social media • Larger Australian userbase on Twitter than within blogosphere • Twitter for breaking politicial news (#spill)
  3. 3. DISCUSSIONS IN THE BLOGOSPHERE • Australian political blogosphere organised less along party lines than around topics of interest – Economics, polling data, feminist issues – ‘Niche’ bloggers adding to debate by examining topics from the context of their own speciality subjects – Promoted and responded to by ‘A-list’ bloggers (including group blogs) covering politics in general (Highfield, 2011)
  4. 4. POLITICAL DISCUSSION ON TWITTER • New gatekeepers on Twitter? – News and opinion circulated, critiqued, challenged on social media • Extension of gatewatching (Bruns, 2005) • Follow and respond directly to people creating news/shaping politics – Not all voters on Twitter - not representative of entire electorate – No requirement to use hashtag/engage with others using it • Active choice by user to connect to wider discussion • Users replying to hashtagged comments might not include it in their tweets
  5. 5. AUSTRALIAN POLITICS AND TWITTER • Accounts established for sitting politicians – At Federal level, 146 of 226 members of Lower and Upper Houses present on Twitter (July 2012) – Accounts also for government departments, political parties, media releases • Hashtags for different political events/broadcasts: – #ausvotes, #ausdecides, #qldvotes – election campaigns – #qt, #waqt – Parliamentary Question Time – #qanda, #insiders – Q & A, Insiders political panel shows
  6. 6. #AUSPOL • Popularised around 2010 Federal election (alongside election-specific hashtags such as #ausvotes) as overarching label for Australian political topics • Endured post-election; however, rather than a space for political debate, seen as increasingly polarised and frequented by trolls: Viewing and participating in 'discussions' on the Twitter stream of #auspol is to immerse yourself in a political cesspit. It is the dark alley in Twitter you walk down when you wonder if you have told anyone where you were going that night. (Jericho, 2012)
  7. 7. TWITTER AND AUSTRALIAN POLITICS • Tracking three general political hashtags since January 2012: – #auspol – Federal – #qldpol – Queensland – #wapol – Western Australia • Methods – yourTwapperkeeper captures tweets with specified hashtags from Twitter API – Gawk scripts for processing large datasets (Bruns & Burgess, 2011), Gephi for network visualisation
  8. 8. 10000 12000 14000 0 2000 4000 6000 8000 2012-Jan-15 2012-Jan-19 2012-Jan-23 2012-Jan-27 2012-Jan-31 2012-Feb-04 #AUSPOL 2012-Feb-08 2012-Feb-12 2012-Feb-16 2012-Feb-20 2012-Feb-24 ALP leadershiip spill 2012-Feb-28 2012-Mar-03 2012-Mar-07 2012-Mar-11 2012-Mar-15 2012-Mar-19 2012-Mar-23 2012-Mar-27 2012-Mar-31 2012-Apr-04 2012-Apr-08 2012-Apr-12 2012-Apr-16 2012-Apr-20 2012-Apr-24 2012-Apr-28 2012-May-02 Craig Thomson 2012-May-06 2012-May-10 Budget 2012-May-14 2012-May-18 2012-May-22 2012-May-26 Craig Thomson 2012-May-30 – 1,002,451 tweets (15/01-04/07), 50,622 users 2012-Jun-03 2012-Jun-07 2012-Jun-11 2012-Jun-15 2012-Jun-19 2012-Jun-23 2012-Jun-27 Asylum seeker debate 2012-Jul-01 Carbon tax
  9. 9. #AUSPOL – Highly active group of users within hashtag: • Top 1% users contribute 64% of tweets • 6 users responsible for 87,696 tweets 1200000 1000000 800000 600000 Sum of original tweets Sum of genuine @replies 400000 Sum of retweets 200000 0 all 50662 users users > 0% (>= 0 users > 90% (>= 14 users > 99% (>= 297 tweets; 45514 of tweets; 4639 of 50662 tweets; 510 of 50662 50662 users) users) users)
  10. 10. REPRESENTATIVE LIMITS OF #AUSPOL • 13 April 2012: Sen. Bob Brown resigns as Greens leader – 11am 13 April 2012-midnight 14 April 2012: • Mentions of “Bob Brown”, “Christine Milne” #bobbrown, @SenatorBobBrown, @SenatorMilne: 13,028 tweets, 7311 users • Mentions of these keywords + #auspol: 1547 tweets, 924 users • Mentions of #auspol (all contexts): 6989 tweets, 2092 users – Bob Brown – 22.1% of #auspol tweets – #auspol – 11.9% of Bob Brown tweets – 8065 users – 1338 both Bob Brown + #auspol (16.6%)
  11. 11. 0 1500 2000 2500 500 1000 15/01/2012 21/01/2012 27/01/2012 2/02/2012 8/02/2012 14/02/2012 20/02/2012 26/02/2012 • #qldpol 3/03/2012 9/03/2012 15/03/2012 State election 21/03/2012 27/03/2012 2/04/2012 8/04/2012 14/04/2012 20/04/2012 26/04/2012 2/05/2012 8/05/2012 14/05/2012 20/05/2012 26/05/2012 1/06/2012 7/06/2012 13/06/2012 19/06/2012 Civil partnerships bill amended 25/06/2012 1/07/2012 7/07/2012 13/07/2012 19/07/2012 25/07/2012 Government funding – 116,873 tweets (15/01-15/10), 9531 users 31/07/2012 6/08/2012 THE STATE LEVEL: QUEENSLAND 12/08/2012 18/08/2012 24/08/2012 30/08/2012 5/09/2012 11/09/2012 17/09/2012 23/09/2012 29/09/2012 Budget 5/10/2012 11/10/2012
  12. 12. 0 100 200 300 400 600 500 15/01/2012 21/01/2012 27/01/2012 2/02/2012 8/02/2012 14/02/2012 20/02/2012 • #wapol 26/02/2012 3/03/2012 9/03/2012 15/03/2012 21/03/2012 27/03/2012 2/04/2012 Opposition leadership change 8/04/2012 14/04/2012 20/04/2012 26/04/2012 2/05/2012 8/05/2012 14/05/2012 20/05/2012 26/05/2012 Budget 1/06/2012 7/06/2012 13/06/2012 19/06/2012 25/06/2012 1/07/2012 7/07/2012 13/07/2012 19/07/2012 Treasurer resigns 25/07/2012 – 16,001 tweets (15/01-15/10), 2373 users 31/07/2012 6/08/2012 Cabinet reshuffle 12/08/2012 18/08/2012 24/08/2012 30/08/2012 5/09/2012 11/09/2012 17/09/2012 23/09/2012 29/09/2012 5/10/2012 11/10/2012 THE STATE LEVEL: WESTERN AUSTRALIA
  13. 13. #AUSPOL AND FEDERAL POLITICIANS @mentions/RTs by active Federal politicians in #auspol tweets Black – journalist/MSM Red – ALP Blue – Liberal Orange – Nationals Green – Greens Pink - Independent
  14. 14. #AUSPOL AND FEDERAL POLITICIANS degree 2+ @mentions/RTs by active Federal politicians in #auspol tweets Black – journalist/MSM Red – ALP Blue – Liberal Orange – Nationals Green – Greens Pink - Independent
  15. 15. #WAPOL degree 5+ Black – journalist/MSM Red – ALP Blue – Liberal Orange – Nationals Green - Greens
  16. 16. #WAPOL AND WA POLITICIANS degree 2+, @mentions/RTs by active WA state politicians in #wapol tweets Black – journalist/MSM Red – ALP Blue – Liberal Orange – Nationals Green - Greens
  17. 17. SOCIAL MEDIA COMMENTARY • 9 October: Julia Gillard’s misogyny and sexism speech – 1.9mil views on YouTube – International attention, heightened #auspol activity: 25000 20000 15000 10000 5000 0 7/10/2012 8/10/2012 9/10/2012 10/10/2012 11/10/2012 12/10/2012 13/10/2012 14/10/2012
  18. 18. SOCIAL MEDIA COMMENTARY • Australian mainstream media interpretation of speech (and coverage of the story) at odds with international views, criticised by social media users: As anyone who has a Twitter account or a Facebook page has noticed, the media's interpretation of the Alan Jones' affair, or more especially, their interpretation of the Prime Minister's speech in Parliament about Mr Abbott's sexism, is rejected outright by many people. Social media has been full of people interpreting these events in ways that are at odds with the media's view. People are simply tired of any professional view that pretends to be authoritative, let alone definitive. (Dunlop, 2012)
  19. 19. SOCIAL MEDIA COMMENTARY
  20. 20. FURTHER OUTLOOK • Event/issue-specific – Case studies within the different political contexts – Link-sharing, common resources • Overlap with tracking Australian news and opinion sites • Do #auspol users link to some sites more than others? News or opinion? Reflected in connections to journalist accounts? • Replies and retweets, information flows – Across party affiliation, between different user groups (journalists, politicians), regions, themes • Ongoing activity around political hashtags
  21. 21. http://mappingonlinepublics.net/ @snurb_dot_info @jeanburgess @_StephenH @DrTNitins @timhighfield @cdtavijit

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