Presentation delivered during the 4th national STS Italia conference. Rovigo, 22 June 2012.
Fabio Giglietto [firstname.lastname@example.org], Luca Rossi [email@example.com]
Department of Communication Studies - University of Urbino Carlo Bo
The public by default nature of Twitter messages, together with the adoption of the #hashtag convention, led during the last few years to the creation of a digital space able to host world-wide conversation on almost every kind of topic (Bruns, 2011; Honeycutt & Herring, 2009; Huberman, Romero, & Wu, 2009; Marwick & boyd, 2010). Beside the adoption of hashtag based conversations as a way to deal with crisis and natural disasters, this practices has been largely adopted as an effective way to share the experience of watching television. So far research on this phenomenon has been focused mainly on large media events (Dayan & Katz, 1994) where Twitter participation occurred as part of the media experience of a single and unique event (Rossi, Magnani, & Iadarola, 2011). These topical discussions take place outside of the standard Twitter network made of follower and followee and represent one of the most interesting recent examples of social shaping of digital media. Hashtag conversations, as well as the idea of the hashtag itself, do not come, in fact, with Twitter’s original feature but instead exploit available affordances of the media (Bruns, 2011; Tumasjan, Sprenger, Sandner, & Welpe, 2010).
This paper bring a substantial contribution to the understanding of how Twitter users’ real practices can reshape the experience of contemporary television by focusing on the study of an appointment based TV show: Servizio Pubblico. Servizio Pubblico is a political talk show aired weekly starting from November 3rd 2011 simultaneously, both on Pay-TV, a large number of local broadcasters and streamed online live on several websites. This peculiar airing/streaming strategy, as well as the more traditional weekly appointment schedule, represents an unexplored scenario for Twitter based studies.
The paper will focus on the following research questions:
RQ1. Is the Twitter conversation network of Servizio Pubblico changing over the several weeks of the show airing? Is it possible to identify a definite set of participants or are they changing every week?
RQ2. Is the conversation mainly made of comments on what is happening in the show or the topic addressed by the TV show actually ignite some debate?
RQ3. Can the Twitter activity be considered as a good indicator of a TV show success? How can it be compared with more traditional data such as the number of viewer or the audience share?
The three RQs will be addressed by analyzing, with a quanti-qualitative methodology, a dataset of over 90,750 Tweet containing the #serviziopubblico hashtag gathered starting from the October 26th 2010.