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Twitter and the Media: Methods, ATNIX, Citizen Journalism, and the Olympics

Here are some more updates on my recent adventures in the world of Twitter research. First, I’m very happy to report that a new chapter on the impact of Twitter on the long-standing melée between industrial and citizen journalism has now been published. In the article, co-written with my CCI colleague Tim Highfield, we explore how the emergence of Twitter as a middle ground between the branded spaces of news Websites and citizen journalist blogs and other sites complicates the previously somewhat more obvious battle lines between the two sides – extending a process of, if not convergence then at least increasing interconnection, which has been evident for some time (except for the last remaining cold warriors of the blog wars).

The article has been published in Produsing Theory in a Digital World, edited by Rebecca Ann Lind – congratulations on what looks like a very interesting volume. (And on a personal note, it’s also very gratifying to see yet another colleague take up the produsage idea and do interesting things with it, of course.)

Axel Bruns and Tim Highfield. “Blogs, Twitter, and Breaking News: The Produsage of Citizen Journalism.” In Rebecca Ann Lind, ed., Produsing Theory in a Digital World: The Intersection of Audiences and Production. New York: Peter Lang, 2012.

Additionally, in order  to further quantify the role of Twitter in discussing and commenting on the news of the day, I started a long-term project aimed at measuring the public resonance of major Australian news sites on Twitter a couple of months ago. The Australian Twitter News Index, ATNIX, is published on a weekly basis over on our Mapping Online Publics Website, and comprehensively tracks the circulation of links to some 30 Australian news sites on Twitter. This provides us with a fascinating perspective not so much on how many people read articles on these sites, but how much they’re prepared to actively share them, by posting or retweeting messages which link to these articles. You can find my collected ATNIX results at Mapping Online Publics, and there are also a couple of introductory posts at The Conversation:

Axel Bruns. “How to Measure Influence: Using Twitter to Rate Australian News Sites.” The Conversation, 18 July 2012.

Axel Bruns. “Australian Twitter News Index: Olympics, Interns and Racism on Facebook.” The Conversation, 20 Aug. 2012.

Also at The Conversation, incidentally, I published a brief piece anticipating the quality of Channel Nine’s coverage of the London Olympics, ahead of the Games themselves. I wasn’t in Australia for most of the Games themselves, but from all I’ve heard my expectations were about right (i.e., Nine’s coverage was largely horrible). Whoever thought having Eddie McGuire cover the men’s marathon would be a good idea should be permanently banned from any involvement with sports broadcasting.

Axel Bruns. “Australian Media and the Olympics: Prepare for Further Disappointment.” The Conversation, 2 July 2012.

Finally, a quick addendum to the keynote on methods for Twitter analysis which my colleague Jean Burgess and I presented at the Conference on Science and the Internet in Düsseldorf at the start of August: video recordings of the three conference keynotes are now also online on the CoSCI site. There’s a full paper, too:

Axel Bruns and Jean Burgess. "Notes towards the Scientific Study of Public Communication on Twitter." Keynote presented at the Conference on Science and the Internet, Düsseldorf, 4 Aug. 2012. (Slides + Audiopresentation video, slides and audio)