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Four New Chapters on the Challenges of Doing Twitter Research

One more post before I head home from the AoIR 2015 conference in Phoenix: during the conference, I also received my author’s copy of Hashtag Publics, an excellent new collection edited by Nathan Rambukkana. In this collection, Jean Burgess and I published an updated version of our paper from the ECPR conference in Reykjavík, which conceptualises (some) hashtag communities as ad hoc publics – and Theresa Sauter and I also have a chapter in the book that explores the #auspol hashtag for Australian politics.

Axel Bruns and Jean Burgess. “Twitter Hashtags from Ad Hoc to Calculated Publics.” In Hashtag Publics: The Power and Politics of Discursive Networks, ed. Nathan Rambukkana. New York: Peter Lang, 2015. 13-28.

Theresa Sauter and Axel Bruns. “#auspol: The Hashtag as Community, Event, and Material Object for Engaging with Australian Politics.” In Hashtag Publics: The Power and Politics of Discursive Networks, ed. Nathan Rambukkana. New York: Peter Lang, 2015. 47-60.

Intersections between Mobility and Memory

The final speaker in this final AoIR 2015 session is Lee Humphreys. Her interest is in the intersections between mobility and memory, and this needs to be understood in terms of degrees of mobility; some devices are more mobile than others.

Exploring the Uses of Snapchat

We move on in this session at AoIR 2015 to Nicole Ellison, who highlights the different frames through which we might understand mobile uses; one is the affordances frame which might highlight the differences between content persistence and ephemerality, for instance. She points to Snapchat in this context, as a particularly interesting object of research.

Situational Contexts of Mobile Internet Use

The next speaker at AoIR 2015 is Veronika Karnowski, whose focus is on the ubiquitous nature of Internet access in contemporary society. Prior to this, households may have had different mediators as determined by the location of connection plugs; later, patchy wireless availability made Internet use nomadic as we moved between islands of connectivity. Today, use is truly ubiquitous.

Mobile Internet Use in Armenia

The final (!) session of AoIR 2015 is on the mobile Internet, and starts with Katy Pearce. Her interest is in the experiences of mobile-only Internet users: a phenomenon which is especially prevalent in developing countries. Here, resource constraints make it more likely that users will buy multi-purpose devices such as feature phones or smartphones with direct network access rather than desktop, laptop, or tablet devices that require a wifi connection.

Funding and Pricing Challenges for Indie Games Developers

The next speakers at AoIR 2015 are Chris Paul and Mia Consalvo, who shift our interest towards games. What is a game, in the first place? Game styles now vary wildly, and address many different communities of gamers; this is a matter of constitutive rhetoric as the language being used brings distinctions into existence through repetition.

Netflix and the Geoblocked Internet

The next speaker in this AoIR 2015 session is Nicole Hentrich, who shifts our focus to the problem of geoblocking in accessing televisual content online. Such Internet content is still controlled on a geographic basis; the Internet is thus not experienced the same by everyone, on both an individual, regional, and national basis.

The Commodity Flow of Netflix

The second session on this final day of AoIR 2015 starts with Camille Yale, whose focus is on Netflix. Netflix represents a rearticulation of the commercial media system, rather than a revolution: it has an intense commodity orientation, global ambitions, and oligopolistic practices; it claims for itself that it is democratising entertainment, however.

Young Estonians' Everyday Political Uses of Social Media

The next AoIR 2015 speaker is Katrin Tiidenberg, whose focus is on young Estonians' social media use. European electoral turnout has been on a steady decline, especially amongst young people, but some forms of non-institutional political participation are on the rise; young people's lives have changed considerably over past decades, and this may have given greater emphasis to everyday political activities over formal political participation.

The Changing Features of Communication on Twitter

Up next in this AoIR 2015 session is Sava Saheli Singh, whose focus is on subverting social media. Our use of such social media, such as Twitter, is shaped by the biases built-in by the people who design these spaces; and these have changed over time. Users reinterpret and repurpose the features of social media spaces, so there is a constant struggle between platform providers and users.


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