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Mapping the Australian spatial imaginary via social media

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Presentation by Peta Mitchell, Tim Highfield, and Elizabeth Ellison, for ANZCA 2015 (8-10 July, Queenstown, NZ)

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Mapping the Australian spatial imaginary via social media

  1. 1. Mapping the Australian spatial imaginary via social media PETA MITCHELL @petamitchell TIM HIGHFIELD @timhighfield ELIZABETH ELLISON @liz_ellison Queensland University of Technology Digital Media Research Centre ANZCA 2015, Queenstown NZ, 9 July 2015
  2. 2. Overview This is a position paper, setting out our aims and rationale for a project that brings together cultural studies, digital methods, social and digital media, and cultural geography… Our proposal brings into dialogue two areas of research that have to date had little or nothing to say to one another, namely social media research and the branch of Australian studies typified by its focus on spatial enquiry Mapping the Australian spatial imaginary via social media | ANZCA 2015, Queenstown NZ, 9 July 2015 @petamitchell + @timhighfield + @liz_ellison 02
  3. 3. Aims + rationale The project builds on the premise that georeferenced social media data constitute ‘spatial stories’: acutely involved in place-making through tweets, Instagram posts, and other place-related online activity The enacting of the Australian spatial imaginary through social media: moving beyond ‘iconic’, distinctive, or singular narratives within national imaginary to socially mediated micronarratives of space that contribute to a socially mediated spatial imaginary Mapping the Australian spatial imaginary via social media | ANZCA 2015, Queenstown NZ, 9 July 2015 @petamitchell + @timhighfield + @liz_ellison 03
  4. 4. Representing space/place Countering the monolithic representation of landscapes (be they bush or beach settings), as by letting these spaces exist as representative of all spaces, the image becomes an icon for the nation. A tension between naming and abstract (see Carter), as the transition between place and space an unnamed space can remain more abstract and imaginary yet social media may privilege the explicit naming/ locating of places and content? Mapping the Australian spatial imaginary via social media | ANZCA 2015, Queenstown NZ, 9 July 2015 @petamitchell + @timhighfield + @liz_ellison 04
  5. 5. Representing space/place Looking beyond the myths and tropes, our aim is to challenge these abstract spaces as identified in, for example, tourist representations, instead trying to capture the more ‘expressive’ places. Our work is located in the everyday or ordinary, rather than the mythic; the difference between the perceived and conceived and the lived spaces Mapping the Australian spatial imaginary via social media | ANZCA 2015, Queenstown NZ, 9 July 2015 @petamitchell + @timhighfield + @liz_ellison 05
  6. 6. The spatial turn(s) Research into mediated representations of Australian space has focused on narrative, fictional, or aesthetic texts or has taken a ‘spatial history’ approach to examine the cultural construction of Australian regional or national space This body of research is both evidence of and a continuing response to the ‘spatial turn’ noted by Edward Soja and Fredric Jameson in the late 1980s and early 1990s (a movement that Australian spatial studies was at the forefront of). Mapping the Australian spatial imaginary via social media | ANZCA 2015, Queenstown NZ, 9 July 2015 @petamitchell + @timhighfield + @liz_ellison 06
  7. 7. Geosocial media A more recent second—digital—spatial turn, particularly evident in the rise of ‘geosocial’ media. Locative media, platforms and services shaping experience of place (e.g. Foursquare), geodata within everyday social media Ambient geographic information (Stefanidis, Crooks, and Radzikowski, 2013), as distinct from volunteered geographic information and crowdsourced (and explicit) geosocial content. Mapping the Australian spatial imaginary via social media | ANZCA 2015, Queenstown NZ, 9 July 2015 @petamitchell + @timhighfield + @liz_ellison 07
  8. 8. Methods + platforms TrISMA: Tracking Infrastructure for Social Media in Australia (ARC LIEF, 2014-2015) Treating everyday social media as ‘geosocial’ (but with limits) Twitter Tags, keywords, geolocation (limited) – filtering posts from Australian users Instagram Tags, geolocation (higher percentage of location data in Instagram media) Mapping the Australian spatial imaginary via social media | ANZCA 2015, Queenstown NZ, 9 July 2015 @petamitchell + @timhighfield + @liz_ellison 08
  9. 9. Pilot: G20 on Twitter Peta Mitchell (2014) Attempt to create close- to-real time social media map of Brisbane during G20, geovisualising related Twitter content Map G20 social media across Brisbane, moving beyond geotag (Crampton et al.) by geoparsing Mapping the Australian spatial imaginary via social media | ANZCA 2015, Queenstown NZ, 9 July 2015 @petamitchell + @timhighfield + @liz_ellison 09
  10. 10. Pilot: G20 on Twitter Mapping the Australian spatial imaginary via social media | ANZCA 2015, Queenstown NZ, 9 July 2015 @petamitchell + @timhighfield + @liz_ellison 10
  11. 11. Pilot: G20 on Twitter https://mappingg20.cartodb.com/ 17499 tweets, 23 Oct – 22 Nov 2014 (1652 geotagged) Mapping the Australian spatial imaginary via social media | ANZCA 2015, Queenstown NZ, 9 July 2015 @petamitchell + @timhighfield + @liz_ellison 11    
  12. 12. Pilot: #thisisqueensland Queensland Tourism- promoted Instameet, October 2014: Visual representations of Queensland, comparing style/ content/etc. Mapping the Australian spatial imaginary via social media | ANZCA 2015, Queenstown NZ, 9 July 2015 @petamitchell + @timhighfield + @liz_ellison 12
  13. 13. The project: the Gold Coast Stereotypes and perceptions of the Gold Coast (Surfers Paradise et al.) sun, surf, high-rise, touristy, sleaze, crime… However, how is the Gold Coast represented in and through social media by those who live there? Those who visit? The social media narratives constructed on Twitter and Instagram, and how they relate to/counter/conform to existing tropes Mapping the Australian spatial imaginary via social media | ANZCA 2015, Queenstown NZ, 9 July 2015 @petamitchell + @timhighfield + @liz_ellison 13
  14. 14. The project: the Gold Coast Focus on the Gold Coast as an event city Commonwealth Games 2018 + Schoolies The narratives created during these events – and the different experiences of the Gold Coast, the various purposes behind them – offer a means for examining the social mediation of location, and for further expansion (methodological, conceptual) through other cases Mapping the Australian spatial imaginary via social media | ANZCA 2015, Queenstown NZ, 9 July 2015 @petamitchell + @timhighfield + @liz_ellison 14
  15. 15. Thanks! Questions and such: Peta Mitchell peta.mitchell@qut.edu.au @petamitchell Tim Highfield t.highfield@qut.edu.au @timhighfield Elizabeth Ellison er.ellison@qut.edu.au @liz_ellison QUT Digital Media Research Centre qut.edu.au/research/dmrc @qutdmrc

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