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New Publications, and Coming Attractions

I’m delighted to share a couple of new publications written with my esteemed colleagues in the QUT Digital Media Research Centre – and as if we weren’t working on enough research projects already, this year is about to get an awful lot busier soon, too. First, though, to the latest articles:

Axel Bruns, Brenda Moon, Avijit Paul, and Felix Münch. “Towards a Typology of Hashtag Publics: A Large-Scale Comparative Study of User Engagement across Trending Topics.Communication Research and Practice 2.1 (2016): 20-46.

This article, in a great special issue of Communication Research and Practice on digital media research methods that was edited by my former PhD student Jonathon Hutchinson, updates my previous work with Stefan Stieglitz that explored some key metrics for a broad range of hashtag datasets and identified some possible types of hashtags using those metrics. In this new work, we find that the patterns we documented then still hold today, and add some further pointers towards other types of hashtags. We’re particularly thankful to our colleagues Jan Schmidt, Fabio Giglietto, Steven McDermott, Till Keyling, Xi Cui, Steffen Lemke, Isabella Peters, Athanasios Mazarakis, Yu-Chung Cheng, and Pailin Chen, who contributed some of their own datasets to our analysis.

Folker Hanusch and Axel Bruns. “Journalistic Branding on Twitter: A Representative Study of Australian Journalists’ Profile Descriptions.Digital Journalism (2016).

This article in Digital Journalism is a collaboration with my colleague Folker Hanusch. Here, we’re exploring the Twitter profiles of more than 4000 Australian journalists, to examine how they present themselves, and what strategies for self-branding they engage in. This work is also a first starting point for a major new ARC Discovery project on “Journalism beyond the Crisis” which Folker, our colleague Brian McNair, and I are about to commence, and which also involves our colleagues Christoph Neuberger, Christian Nuernbergk, Tamara Witschge, and Mark Deuze in Germany and the Netherlands. More on this as it develops!

On to other, upcoming events: in a couple of weeks I’ll head to Hannover, Germany, for the Web Science 2016 conference. There, my colleague and Twitter and Society co-editor Katrin Weller and I will present a paper that argues strongly for the need to archive and preserve social media content from Twitter and other platforms for posterity. I’ll have more to say about this in a separate post soon, but the key point is that – analogous to journalism’s claim to be a first draft of history – we suggest that social media provide a first draft of the present, and are therefore of immense value to future historians. Here’s the full paper:

Axel Bruns and Katrin Weller. “Twitter as a First Draft of the Present — and the Challenges of Preserving It for the Future.” Paper presented at Web Science 2016, Hannover, 23-25 May 2016.

Afterwards, I’ll spend a little while as a visiting scholar at the fabulous Alexander-von-Humboldt-Institut for Internet and Society in Berlin – so if you’re in the neighbourhood, get in touch! And towards the end of my time in Europe, I’ll also participate in the Social Media & Society conference that takes place in London on 11-13 July 2016, where I’ll present a workshop on Advanced Twitter Analytics Using TCAT and Tableau, as well as a paper that takes a full 24 hours of interactions between 2.8 million accounts in the Australian Twittersphere and explores the network patterns that emerge.

Finally, and speaking of network interactions, my colleagues in the QUT Digital Media Research Centre and I are also teaming up with researchers from the Australian Defence Science Technology Group to analyse and model patterns of viral information dissemination – of network contagion – in the Australian Twittersphere. We’ll present some first results from this still highly experimental work at the ACSPRI Social Science Methodology Conference in Sydney on 19-22 July 2016. I’ll have more details on this closer to the date…