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Some Recent and Upcoming Work

When this site goes quiet, it’s usually because work is exceptionally busy. My apologies for the long silence since the launch of our major collection A Companion to New Media Dynamics – a range of projects, variously relating to the uses of social media in crisis communication, of Twitter in a number of national elections, of social media as a second-screen backchannel to televised events, and of ‘big data’ in researching online issue publics, have kept me occupied for the past eight months or so.

Now, I’m about to head off to Denver for the annual Association of Internet Researchers conference and on to a number of other events, and you can expect the usual bout of live blogging from these conferences – but before I do so, here’s a quick update of some of the major publications and papers I’ve completed during the past few months. For some more frequent updates on the work of my colleagues and me, you can also follow our updates at Mapping Online Publics and the site of the QUT Social Media Research Group, of course. On the SMRG site, we’ve also posted a list of the presentations we’ll be making at AoIR and beyond – hope to see you there!


News, Politics, and Social Media

Especially given the national elections held in the United States, Australia, Germany, and elsewhere during 2012 and 2013, the role of social media in politics and the news has continued to be a major focus in our research in recent months. We’ve looked both at specific uses in election campaigns, and at more general impacts on news and journalism:

Axel Bruns. “Twitter and the 2013 Australian Election.” Paper presented at Political Imperatives: Media and the 2013 Election Campaign, Brisbane, 27 Sep. 2013.

Tim Highfield and Axel Bruns. “#wavotes: Tracking Candidates' Use of Social Media in the 2013 Western Australian State Election.” Paper presented at ANZCA 2013, 5 July 2013.

Axel Bruns and Tim Highfield. “Die Twitterstrategien der Wahlkampagnen im US-Wahlkampf 2012.” Paper presented at “Re:publica 2013”, Berlin, 6 May 2013.

Axel Bruns, Tim Highfield, and Stephen Harrington. “Sharing the News: Dissemination of Links to Australian News Sites on Twitter.” In Janey Gordon, Paul Rowinski, and Gavin Stewart, eds., Br(e)aking the News: Journalism, Politics and New Media. New York: Peter Lang, 2013. 181-210.

Theresa Sauter and Axel Bruns. "Social Media in the Media: How Australian Media Perceive Social Media as Political Tools." Brisbane: ARC Centre of Excellence for Creative Industries and Innovation, 2013.


Social Media and Crisis Communication

The other very important area of our current work is interested in how social media are being, and may be, used in crisis communication contexts. Our work has focussed on a number of major recent crisis events, from the 2011 Queenland floods through the Arab Spring uprisings to Hurricane Sandy in the US:

Axel Bruns. “Researching Social Media in Times of Crisis.” Keynote presented at the Eidos Institute “Social Media in Times of Crisis 2013” symposium, Brisbane, 4 Apr. 2013.

Frances Shaw, Jean Burgess, Kate Crawford, and Axel Bruns. “Sharing News, Making Sense, Saying Thanks: Patterns of Talk on Twitter during the Queensland Floods.Australian Journal of Communication 40.1 (2013): 23-39.

Axel Bruns, Tim Highfield, and Jean Burgess. “The Arab Spring and Social Media Audiences: English and Arabic Twitter Users and Their Networks.American Behavioral Scientist 57.7 (2013): 871-898. DOI: 10.1177/0002764213479374.

Axel Bruns. “From #qldfloods to #sandy: Engaging with the Public during Crisis Events.” Paper presented at Social Media Communication Strategies in Government 2013, Brisbane, 17 Sep. 2013.

Avijit Paul and Axel Bruns. “Usability of Small Crisis Data Sets in the Absence of Big Data.” In Ezendu Ariwa, Wenbing Zhao, and Meenakshi Gandhi (eds.), Proceedings of the 2013 International Conference on Information, Business and Education Technology. Beijing: Atlantis Press, 718-721.

Terry Flew, Axel Bruns, Jean Burgess, Kate Crawford, and Frances Shaw. “Social Media and Its Impact on Crisis Communication: Case Studies of Twitter Use in Emergency Management in Australia and New Zealand.” Paper presented at the ICA Regional Conference Communication and Social Transformation, Shanghai, China, 8-10 Nov. 2013.


‘Big Data’ Research Methods

Enabling much of this research is our work in developing more sophisticated methodological frameworks for the analysis of very large datasets as we are able to capture them from social media sources. We’ve continued our exploration and documentation of new research methods in this field:

Axel Bruns and Stefan Stieglitz. “Towards More Systematic Twitter Analysis: Metrics for Tweeting Activities.International Journal of Social Research Methodology 16.2 (2013): 91-108. DOI: 10.1080/13645579.2012.756095.

Axel Bruns and Stefan Stieglitz. “Quantitative Approaches to Comparing Communication Patterns on Twitter.” In Klaus Bredl, Julia Hünniger, and Jakob Linaa Jensen, eds., Methods for Analyzing Social Media. 20-44.

Jean Burgess, Axel Bruns, and Larissa Hjorth. “Emerging Methods for Digital Media Research: An Introduction.Journal of Broadcasting and Electronic Media 57.1 (Mar. 2013): 1-3. DOI: 10.1080/08838151.2012.761706.

Axel Bruns. “Faster than the Speed of Print: Reconciling ‘Big Data’ Social Media Analysis and Academic Scholarship.First Monday 18.10 (2013). DOI: 10.5210/fm.v18i10.4879.

Axel Bruns. “Neue Öffentlichkeiten auf Social-Media-Plattformen: Zur Nutzung von ‚Big Data‘ in der Kommunikationsforschung.” Visiting Fellow lecture presented at the Centre for Advanced Studies, Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität, München, 23 Apr. 2013.

Axel Bruns and Jean Burgess. “Blogforschung: Der ‘Computational Turn’. In Peter Haber and Eva Pflanzelter, eds., Historyblogosphere: Bloggen in den Geisteswissenschaften. Munich: Oldenbourg Wissenschaftsverlag. 135-148.

Jean Burgess and Axel Bruns. “Mapping the Australian Twittersphere.” Paper presented at the Media in Transition 8 conference, Boston, 3-5 May 2013.



Finally, a few other papers and publications which don’t easily fit into any of the categories above:

Axel Bruns. “Exploring the Pro-Am Interface between Production and Produsage.” In Francis L.F. Lee, Louis Leung, Jack Linchuan Qiu, and Donna S.C. Chu, eds., Frontiers in New Media Research. New York: Routledge, 2013. 241-258.

Axel Bruns. “From Homepages to Network Profiles: Balancing Personal and Social Identity.” In John Hartley, Jean Burgess, and Axel Bruns, eds., A Companion to New Media Dynamics. London: Blackwell, 2013.

Tim Highfield, Stephen Harrington, and Axel Bruns. “Twitter as a Technology for Audiencing and Fandom: The #Eurovision Phenomenon.Information, Communication & Society 16.3 (2013): 315-39. DOI: 10.1080/1369118X.2012.756053.

Axel Bruns. “Social Media in Australia: The Case of Twitter.” Paper presented at the Social Media Masterclass at the Australian Teachers of Media 2013 conference, Brisbane, 4 July 2013.


So much for now – more to come as we hit Denver for AoIR 2013 and the launch of our latest book!