Twitter: Journalism and theformation of online communitiesA case study by A Brun and J Burgess on the2010 Australian Federal Election and the use of Twitter.
Introduction• Twitter has become a standard element of general Internet usage in Australia.• It’s involvement in the 2010 Australian Federal Election became a space for the general Internet users in Australia to provide commentary on political events and the media.
What was Twitter used for? #ausvotes• People provided commentary on political events, the media and largely focused on the personalities of the race rather than policy.• Communicate and engage with political parties, politicians, politics, journalist and other like- minded Australians.• A space to share feelings and opinions.• Creation of a community based around a mutual interest, where people with the same intentions have come to share their opinions on the Australian Election, as well as seeking information.
A professional space? #ausvotes• An increase of journalists signed up to Twitter such as @LaurieOaks, @michellegrattan and @ lenoretaylor• Julia Gillard and Tony Abbott both opened Twitter accounts for this election (both are still active today). – A tweet from Gillard during the election wrote “"The election will be on 21 August. With your support I will move Australia forward. JG”
Examples of #ausvotes Tweets:• i dont want to vote for either of them after watching this crap #middleclassnightmares #ausvotes”• crazyjane13: “Dear Mr Speaker, Please excuse Wyatt from Parliament today. He has a cold. Signed, Wyatt’s Mum. #ausvotes.”• benbirchall: “Nobody’s in charge, Australia! Let’s eat the condensed milk out of the can! #ausvotes.”• adzap: “It will truly be the death of chivalry if none of these independent men offer their seat to a lady. #ausvotes.”• RT @mikfrawley: “RT @oldspace Hello Australia. Look at your parliament, now back at me. Sadly, it isn’t me, but it is hung like me. #ausvotes.”
Brun and Burgess• “explicit form of publicness”, which invites attention from other participants in the #ausvotes conversation.• A conversation that engaged 36 287 unique Twitter users and 415 009 Tweets
Class discussion:• Is providing commentary a form of journalism in the microblogging sphere?• Opinion writing is journalism so is this form of microblogging in 140 characters not a form of journalism too?• Is the Twittersphere considered a form of citizen journalism?
Just a platform to throw around what’s on your mind?• It’s a platform where people are able to interact with the process of journalism rather than journalism itself.• Mapping the on-goings of the campaign rather than reporting news.• One tweet can undermine what is being said by a politician, giving us an honest perspective.
Activity• Spilt the room downinto FOUR groups; journalists, general public, Jane Jones and John Smith.• We want you to REACT the way your group would do so in the following situation, using the Twitter format of 140 characters. Add #mdia5003 and @reply or reTweet at least one other Tweet made by someone else.• Pretend it’s the lead up to a Federal Election in our fictional country “land”, it’s John Smith up against Jane Jones once again. During the public debate John Smith swears, not in a derogatory way towards anyone in particular, he simply says the F-word. He is talking about his views on the proposed National Broadband Network, and how they should be scrapped to pay aid to those affected by the “Northern State” flood.
References:Websites:• Birmingham, J (14th August 2010), In cyberia, all the twitters is not gold, Sydney Morning Herald online;http://www.smh.com.au/federal-election/in-cyberia-all-that-twitters-is-not-gold-20100813-1239q.html• Bourke, L (29th July 2010), Twittersphere Day 11, Sydney Morning Herald online;http://www.smh.com.au/federal-election/twittersphere-day-11-20100729-10wih.html• Bruns, A., (27th July 2010), All a-Twitter on the campaign, Sydney Morning Herald online;http://www.smh.com.au/opinion/politics/all-atwitter-on-the-campaign-trail-20100727-10tl9.html#ixzz23lyljmWr• Delaney, B (29th July 2010), Our virtual selves linger on, long after we’ve shuffled off, Sydney Morning Herald online;http://www.smh.com.au/opinion/society-and-culture/our-virtual-selves-linger-on-long-after-weve-shuffled-off- 20100728-10w1w.html• Maley, J (7th August, 2010), Twitter, the new kid in town with all the hot goss..er, news, Sydney Morning Herald online;http://www.smh.com.au/technology/technology-news/twitter-the-new-kid-in-town-with-all-the-hot-goss--er-news- 20100809-11rmu.html• Menzie’sHouse, Top 5 #ausvotes Twitter Posts, Menzie’s House blog online:http://www.menzieshouse.com.au/2010/08/top-5-ausvotes-twitter-posts.htmlArticles:• Bruns, A. and Burgess, J. (2011), ‘#ausvotes: How Twitter covered the 2010 Australian Federal Election’ in Communcation, Politics and Culture, Volume 44, Issue 2, RMIT Publishing: Australia, pages 37 – 56.• Java, A. Song, X., Finin, T. and Tseng, B. (2007), ‘Why we Twitter: Understanding microblogging usage and communities’ in Proceeding, ACM Publishing: New York, page 56 – 65.• Lasorsa, D. L., Lewis, S. C. and Holton, A., E., (2012), ‘Normalising Twitter: Journalism practice in an emerging communication space’ in Journalism Studies, Volume 13, Issue 1, Routledge: UK, pages 19 – 36.