The final speaker in our AoIR 2013 panel is Fabio Giglietto, who presents a season-long study of Twitter use alongside 11 Italian TV talkshows. Twitter use alongside such shows can reveal the power struggles between political and media actors and everyday citizens.
Fabio's team bought Gnip data for the relevant hashtags related to these 11 talkshows, adding up to some 2.5 million shows. 76% of these were made while the shows were on air, with some 187,000 unique on-air contributors. The team also identified the key peaks in engagement, and associated them with specific time windows within the broadcasts; they then conducted a content analysis of the tweets posted and the content broadcast during these windows.
Interviews with one or multiple subjects generated the most tweets on average, and also the most tweets per minute. Of these, group interviews or discussions generated substantially more tweets than one-on-one interviews - around twice as many tweets per minute, in fact. Opinion tweets account for more than half of the tweets in the sample, with objectivised opinion most prevalent. Attention-seeking tweets (asking questions or directly addressing politicians) are the second most visible category - an attempt to engage in an idealised conversation with political actors.
The vast majority of tweets can be seen as a form of political participation, rather than (merely?) audience participation, which is mainly used for satire and external interventions. Offering a personal point of view on political issues is therefore a core strategy for the tweeters, addressed largely to a non-specified imagined audience, while political actors are sometimes also directly addressed. Political and audience participation are strategically used in different ways.