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Tweeting le Tour: Connecting the Tour de France’s global audience through Twitter

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Tweeting le Tour: Connecting the Tour de France’s global audience through Twitter

  1. 1. Tweeting le Tour: Connecting the Tour de France’s global audience through Twitter 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. OVERVIEW • The Tour de France as both a sporting contest and media (televised) event – Different ways of viewing the race – as a competition, as a ritualised broadcast • The global audience and social media – Does tweeting about the same event connect Twitter users around the world? – Common features in tweeting patterns among the Tour’s Twitter audience – Different ways of framing the Tour through social media
  3. 3. SPORTS AND TWITTER • Social media increasingly used by sportspeople – Self-promotion, brand management – Commentary on competition, training – Interactions with other athletes, fans • Twitter offers visible connections between spectators, sportspeople, and broadcasters as @mentions create links to other accounts - even if replies not forthcoming • Sports events also among most popular topics covered on Twitter (Olympics, FIFA World Cup) – High volumes of tweets, frequent updates
  4. 4. LIVE TELEVISION EVENTS ON TWITTER • Watching events as they occur crucial for tweeting about them – Twitter acts as a virtual loungeroom for television audiences – Broadcasters incorporate tweets into shows, online coverage – Avoiding spoilers, results from sports broadcast on delay • 140 character limit, use of hashtags make Twitter a popular tool for public discussions around television broadcasts – Automatic creation of links for each hashtag connects tweets to wider coverage of ongoing events – Does not require users to be following each other – Broadcasters promote show-specific (and even broadcaster- specific) hashtags
  5. 5. METHODS • Part of wider, ongoing research into Twitter activity (Mapping Online Publics): – Tracking of keywords / hashtags through Twitter API using yourTwapperkeeper. • Data captured include text of tweets, URLs, hashtags, @mentions/replies • Collected tweets around several hashtags, keywords, and user accounts for a more extensive overview of the Tour’s coverage on Twitter than provided by a single hashtag; including: – Race-specific hashtags (e.g. #tdf, #letour) – Keywords (“tour de france”) – Broadcaster-specific hashtags (#sbstdf) – Mentions of cyclist Twitter accounts (@bradwiggins, @cadelofficial), teams (@rsnt, @teamsky), commentators (@philliggett, @paulsherwen), non-competing riders/figures (@lancearmstrong)
  6. 6. TOUR DE FRANCE 2012 30 June – 22 July 2012 198 riders (31 nationalities), 22 teams 21 days of racing (two rest days) over 3,497km Broadcast in 190 countries http://www.letour.fr/PHOTOS/TDF/2012/1400/42-b.jpg
  7. 7. OVERALL COVERAGE hashtag/keyword total tweets total users peak activity 22 July #tdf (29 June - 23 July) 559,569 145,328 (42,548 tweets) #letour (1 July - 23 July) 11,833 5583 7 July (875 tweets) “tour de france” 22 July 428,989 224,616 (29 June - 23 July) (37,732 tweets) 18 July #sbstdf (29 June - 23 July) 39,115 3185 (2851 tweets)
  8. 8. 0 10000 15000 20000 25000 30000 35000 40000 45000 5000 2012-Jun-29 2012-Jun-30 2012-Jul-01 2012-Jul-02 2012-Jul-03 2012-Jul-04 2012-Jul-05 2012-Jul-06 2012-Jul-07 2012-Jul-08 2012-Jul-09 2012-Jul-10 #TDF AS IT HAPPENED 2012-Jul-11 2012-Jul-12 2012-Jul-13 2012-Jul-14 2012-Jul-15 2012-Jul-16 2012-Jul-17 2012-Jul-18 2012-Jul-19 2012-Jul-20 2012-Jul-21 2012-Jul-22 tweets per day 2012-Jul-23
  9. 9. #TDF AS IT HAPPENED tweets per hour 25000 Stage 21 20000 Stage 14 (tacks) 15000 10000 Stage 7 Prologue 5000 0
  10. 10. #TDF, 29 JUNE – 23 JULY 2012 general clustering (degree 20+)
  11. 11. CLUSTERS AND CONNECTIONS • Distinct national clusters sharing common features: – Cyclists, teams, commentators from these countries central to @mention/RT network • Clusters connected by: – Prominent cyclists within race itself – Cyclists from one cluster also having some affiliation (often team-based) to another – Users (cycling news sites, blogs, as well as teams and riders) with an international audience rather than a national or regional focus
  12. 12. LIGGETT AND SHERWEN SBS (Australia) https://twitter.com/ThePeddler3 NBC (US) ITV (UK)
  13. 13. 0 10000 12000 14000 2000 4000 6000 8000 2012-Jul-01 2012-Jul-02 2012-Jul-03 2012-Jul-04 2012-Jul-05 2012-Jul-06 2012-Jul-07 tweets per day, 1 July-23 July 2012-Jul-08 2012-Jul-09 2012-Jul-10 2012-Jul-11 TWEETING AT RIDERS: 2012-Jul-12 2012-Jul-13 2012-Jul-14 2012-Jul-15 2012-Jul-16 BRAD WIGGINS (@bradwiggins) http://www.letour.fr/PHOTOS/TDF/2012/1900/56-b.jpg 2012-Jul-17 2012-Jul-18 2012-Jul-19 2012-Jul-20 2012-Jul-21 2012-Jul-22 2012-Jul-23
  14. 14. 0 1000 1200 200 400 600 800 2012-Jul-01 2012-Jul-02 2012-Jul-03 2012-Jul-04 2012-Jul-05 2012-Jul-06 2012-Jul-07 tweets per day, 1 July-23 July 2012-Jul-08 2012-Jul-09 2012-Jul-10 http://www.letour.fr/PHOTOS/TDF/2012/300/59-b.jpg 2012-Jul-11 TWEETING AT RIDERS: 2012-Jul-12 2012-Jul-13 2012-Jul-14 2012-Jul-15 CADEL EVANS (@cadelofficial) 2012-Jul-16 2012-Jul-17 2012-Jul-18 2012-Jul-19 2012-Jul-20 2012-Jul-21 2012-Jul-22 2012-Jul-23
  15. 15. 0 1000 1200 1400 1600 200 400 600 800 2012-Jul-01 2012-Jul-02 2012-Jul-03 2012-Jul-04 2012-Jul-05 2012-Jul-06 2012-Jul-07 tweets per day, 1 July-23 July 2012-Jul-08 2012-Jul-09 2012-Jul-10 2012-Jul-11 TWEETING AT RIDERS: 2012-Jul-12 2012-Jul-13 2012-Jul-14 2012-Jul-15 2012-Jul-16 2012-Jul-17 2012-Jul-18 2012-Jul-19 FABIAN CANCELLARA (@f_cancellara) 2012-Jul-20 2012-Jul-21 2012-Jul-22 http://www.letour.fr/PHOTOS/TDF/2012/200/79-b.jpg 2012-Jul-23
  16. 16. STYLES OF TWEETS: #SBSTDF • Australian broadcaster-specific hashtag – Set up for multicultural public service broadcaster SBS and its integrated coverage of the Tour • Social hub on website combining Twitter feeds, Facebook comments, blog posts, photos, and video of the race • #sbstdf often used alongside #tdf and other related hashtags • SBS’s long-running coverage of the Tour, featuring recognisable presenters and commentators for regular audience makes each broadcast a familiar event – Viewing late at night (10pm-12am/2am local time) – Common format across stages (pre-race coverage)
  17. 17. #SBSTDF AND TROPES OF THE TOUR • Familiarisation with the SBS broadcast also leads to the identification of recurring tropes within coverage – Regularly-used phrases, stock images (chateaux, cows, sunflowers), awareness of the different presenters and quirks – #sbstdf discussion can be as much fandom for the SBS broadcast as for cycling itself – http://www.lesvachesdutour.com/2012/07/17/stage-15-round-up http://t.co/DnokMMhX
  18. 18. #SBSTDF AND TROPES OF THE TOUR http://www.sbs.com.au/food/ask-the-chef • Humour a central part of #sbstdf activity – Many of the most retweeted comments light-hearted – Fake and satirical accounts set up for SBS presenters (including pre-race chef - @fakegabrielgate) – Tropes mix and lead to additional droll content • Fake accounts promote ‘bingo’ card during one stage, based on common phrases used by commentators Liggett and Sherwen http://t.co/tbyZIe2x
  19. 19. JENS VOIGT AS CHUCK NORRIS JensVoigtFacts.com @JensVoigtFacts Voigt’s official account: @thejensie @thejensie has a polar bear stretched out on the floor of his den. It's not dead, it's just too scared to move. #sbstdf Welcome to viewers in WA. You just missed Jens Voigt riding so hard that a chopper got knocked off course by his wake turbulence. #sbstdf
  20. 20. FURTHER OUTLOOK • Twitter users commenting on the Tour connected through large (nation- based) clusters – Different groups bridged by shared linking to accounts of key cyclists, teams, analysts • Volume of tweets directed at riders’ accounts seems to follow fortunes during race – Global audience still appears to be subdivided, though not completely separated • Importance of broadcasters to this distribution – the Tour as a media event as well as a sporting contest – Overlapping views of race – fan-athlete communication, sports commentary, television backchannel • Tweeting styles beyond Australian context – how do different national groups (and the Tour’s Twitter audience overall) cover the Tour? – What do cyclists, teams, commentators tweet about during the race (and beyond)? What patterns of interactions are there between the audience, the competitors, and the broadcasters?
  21. 21. http://mappingonlinepublics.net/ @snurb_dot_info @jeanburgess @_StephenH @DrTNitins @timhighfield @cdtavijit

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