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Social media news audiences and the quantified journalist

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Panel presentation by Tim Highfield and Axel Bruns, ICA 2015, San Juan, Puerto Rico, 22 May 2015.

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Social media news audiences and the quantified journalist

  1. 1. Social media news audiences and the quantified journalist Tim Highfield + Axel Bruns timhighfield.net / @timhighfield / t.highfield@qut.edu.au snurb.info / @snurb_dot_info / a.bruns@qut.edu.au #ica15, San Juan, Puerto Rico, 22 May 2015
  2. 2. RESEARCH CONTEXT •  Social media as journalistic tool –  Tweeting news as it happens (Vis, 2013) –  Information-sourcing and –sharing, sense-making –  ‘ambient news’ (Hermida, 2010) •  Interactions, attention, and information flows –  Competing for attention, prestige? –  ‘social infomediation of news’ (Smyrnaios & Rieder, 2013) –  ‘first draft of the present’ (Bruns & Highfield, 2012) –  ‘reciprocal journalism’ (Lewis, Holton, & Coddington, 2014) –  Previous spaces for responding to news, journalists, other readers •  comments on articles, on blogs à but hosted (and moderated?) spaces •  popular social media platforms more variable/unconstrained? @timhighfield + @snurb_dot_info The quantified journalist #ica15 22 May 2015 2
  3. 3. RESEARCH QUESTIONS •  What news content are social media users sharing? –  Sharing as a metric of active and visible engagement (although not without limits) •  Which sources are popular/prominent here? What is the impact of new online players in news environment? –  The Guardian (for Australia), The Conversation (and in general, see Medium, &c.) •  What are the roles of journalists and audiences in co-creating, critiquing, and shaping news? –  Co-production: Ekstrom, Eriksson, & Kroom Lundell, 2013 –  Across platforms – e.g. live blogs (Thurman & Walters, 2013) •  News-sharing within publics – and the role of this process in the formation of publics? @timhighfield + @snurb_dot_info The quantified journalist #ica15 22 May 2015 3
  4. 4. RESEARCH PROJECT •  ARC Future Fellowship: –  Four-year project, $876,973 –  Axel Bruns (FF); Postdoctoral Research Fellow; Felix Münch (PhD1, 2014-2017); PhD2 (2015-2018) At the intersection of mainstream, niche, and social media, the processes by which public opinion forms and public debate unfolds are increasingly complex, and poorly understood. This project draws on large datasets and innovative methods to develop a new model of the Australian online public sphere. •  Also supported by ARC LIEF project: –  Two-year project (2014/15; QUT, Curtin, Deakin, Swinburne) to develop comprehensive infrastructure for large-scale social media data analytics @timhighfield + @snurb_dot_info The quantified journalist #ica15 22 May 2015 4
  5. 5. DATA SOURCES •  Social media –  Facebook: user engagement with public pages (profile activity is semi-private) –  Twitter: •  hashtag, keyword, URL sharing datasets (public accounts only) •  Australian network data; Australian firehose (public accounts only) –  Other social media sources… •  Analytics and monitors –  Experian Hitwise: •  Australian Web browsing data (ISP-level, anonymous and opt-in panels, 1.5m users) •  Australian Web searching data (same methodology) –  Proprietary datasets: •  Website analytics for major news sites (e.g. News Ltd. / Fairfax Digital sites) –  Mainstream media monitoring: •  Content databases for mainstream media coverage @timhighfield + @snurb_dot_info The quantified journalist #ica15 22 May 2015 5
  6. 6. PROJECT AGENDA •  Data sources: –  Australian Internet browse / search patterns (Experian Hitwise) –  Online news media reading patterns (Fairfax Digital) –  Big social data on news sharing via social media (ARC LIEF) •  Multiple overlapping publics / networks: –  What drives their formation and dissipation? –  How do they interact and interweave? –  How are they interleaved with the wider media ecology? –  Social media do not contain publics: publics transcend social media @timhighfield + @snurb_dot_info The quantified journalist #ica15 22 May 2015 6
  7. 7. RESEARCH AIMS •  Methodological development (Y1): How do we process and integrate these data? •  Short term (Y2): What happens as news breaks? •  Medium term (Y3): How do themes, topics, actors wax and wane? •  Long term (Y4): How do these patterns affect public opinion formation? @timhighfield + @snurb_dot_info The quantified journalist #ica15 22 May 2015 7
  8. 8. HITWISE: NEWS BROWSING TRENDS 8  
  9. 9. TWITTER: NEWS SHARING TRENDS 9  
  10. 10. TWITTER: NEWS SHARING TRENDS ATNIX Australian Twitter News Index April 2015: Covers ANZAC Day and the executions of members of Bali 9 – but general trend that large- scale mainstream media coverage does not always translate into substantial on-sharing of related articles – widespread coverage reduces need or impetus to share? @timhighfield + @snurb_dot_info The quantified journalist #ica15 22 May 2015 10
  11. 11. AUDIENCE OVERLAPS Intersections between top 10,000 sharers for each site, Q1/2015 @timhighfield + @snurb_dot_info The quantified journalist #ica15 22 May 2015 11
  12. 12. THE QUANTIFIED JOURNALIST? •  Metrics about story type •  The role of journalists within social media networks –  Source –  Critic –  Participant –  Amplifier –  Institutional chains – retweeting and sharing colleagues and fellow publications/ stations •  Socially mediated journalism –  Different media content within news production as novelty for sharing? –  Vine, Periscope/Meerkat, and their incorporation into other stories and presentation on other platforms? @timhighfield + @snurb_dot_info The quantified journalist #ica15 22 May 2015 12
  13. 13. PUBLICS •  Issue publics •  Ad hoc •  Networked •  Personal •  Calculated •  Affective •  … Overlapping publics apparent on social media, and their implications for news consumption, topical framing, diversity of coverage… @timhighfield + @snurb_dot_info The quantified journalist #ica15 22 May 2015 13
  14. 14. Educa&on   Agriculture   Literature   Adelaide  /  SA   Food   Wine   Beer   Paren&ng   Mums   PR   Ne&zens   Marke&ng   Inves&ng   Real  Estate   Home  Business   Sole  Traders   Self-­‐Help   HR  /  Support   Followback   Urban  Media   U&li&es   Adver&sing   Business   Fashion   Beauty   Arts   Cinema   Journalists   Poli&cs   Hard  Right  LeMists   News   Cycling  Talkback   Music     TV   V8s   UFC   NRL   AFL   Football   Horse  Racing   Cricket   NRU   Celebri&es   Hillsong   Perth   Pop   Media   Teen  Idols   Cody  Simpson   THE AUSTRALIAN TWITTERSPHERE ~140k Australian accounts with degree > 1000, as of Sep. 2013 14  
  15. 15. ABC NEWS (JUNE 2012 TO SEP. 2014) 15  
  16. 16. DAILY TELEGRAPH (JUNE 2012 TO SEP. 2014) 16  
  17. 17. NEXT STEPS •  Further data points –  More detailed data on search patterns (Experian Hitwise) –  Readership patterns (Fairfax Digital sites) –  Facebook audience engagement patterns with news pages •  Further analytical approaches –  Activity patterns around key issues and events (e.g. G20, AFC Asian Cup, ANZAC Day, Queensland state election) –  Correlation of activity patterns across datasets –  Computational modelling of patterns to identify cross-influence of activities on different platforms on each other –  Users – bridges/influencers/opinion leaders…? –  Extending to Germany and Scandinavian news sharing practices on Twitter •  Further theory development –  Ad hoc publics, issue publics, public sphericules in the Australian public sphere @timhighfield + @snurb_dot_info The quantified journalist #ica15 22 May 2015 17
  18. 18. QUT Digital Media Research Centre @qutdmrc – qut.edu.au/research/dmrc @snurb_dot_info @timhighfield @stationsarzt @dpwoodford @katieprowd @tsadkowsky @jeanburgess @socialmediaQUT – socialmedia.qut.edu.au mappingonlinepublics.net This research is funded by the Australian Research Council through Future Fellowship and LIEF grants FT130100703 and LE140100148.

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