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Academic and other conferences

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).

Social Media News Audiences and the Quantified Journalist (ICA 2015)

International Communication Association conference 2015

Social Media News Audiences and the Quantified Journalist

Tim Highfield and Axel Bruns

Call for Applications: CCI Digital Methods Summer School, 15-19 Feb. 2016 (#cciss16)

We are now inviting applications for the 2016 CCI Digital Methods Summer School. The deadline for application is Monday 21 Sep. 2016.

Hosted by the QUT Digital Media Research Centre (DMRC), the 2016 event will focus on digital methods for sociocultural research. It is designed for university researchers at all stages of their careers, from doctoral students, postdoctoral and mid-career academics to established scholars.

The week-long intensive program will focus on new quantitative, qualitative and data-driven digital methods and their research applications in the humanities and social sciences, with a particular focus on media, communication and cultural studies and their applications in the creative industries.

Participants will work with leading researchers, engage in hands-on workshop activities and will have the opportunity to present and get feedback on their own work.

The Summer School will offer a range of introductory hands-on workshops in topics such as:

  • Digital ethnography
  • Issue mapping
  • Social media data analytics
  • Software and mobile app studies
  • Analysing visual social media
  • Geo-spatial mapping
  • Data visualisation
  • Agent-based modelling
  • Web scraping

The program will be conceptually grounded in the problems of public communication and privacy, digital media production and consumption, and the ethical issues associated with big data and digital methods in the context of digital media environments. There will be talks on these topics in addition to the workshops.

Mapping Online Publics: New Methods for Twitter Research (Twitter Analytics Workshop 2014)

Twitter Analytics Workshop 2014

Mapping Online Publics: New Methods for Twitter Research

Axel Bruns, Jean Burgess, and Darryl Woodford

  • 12 June 2014 – Twitter Workshop: Analysing Network Data, Göttingen

The study of Twitter at large scale and in close to real time requires the development of new methodological approaches which are able to process, analyse, and visualise the ‘big social data’ which can be accessed through the Twitter API. The Mapping Online Publics project in the ARC Centre of Excellence for Creative Industries and Innovation (CCI) at Queensland University of Technology has developed a number of approaches to the study of short- and long-term Twitter publics, from analyses of the dynamics of ad hoc issue publics around natural disasters and political crises through the tracking of information flows and audience interests across mainstream and social media to the comprehensive mapping of the Australian Twittersphere. This presentation will outline the methodological approaches developed for this work, and reflect on the opportunities and challenges facing social media researchers.


Axel Bruns is an Australian Research Council Future Fellow and Associate Professor in the Creative Industries Faculty at Queensland University of Technology in Brisbane, Australia. He leads the QUT Social Media Research Group and is the author of Blogs, Wikipedia, Second Life and Beyond: From Production to Produsage (2008) and Gatewatching: Collaborative Online News Production (2005), and a co-editor of Twitter and Society (2014), A Companion to New Media Dynamics (2012) and Uses of Blogs (2006). His current work focusses on the study of user participation in social media spaces such as Twitter, especially in the context of acute events. His research blog is at, and he tweets at @snurb_dot_info. See for more details on his research into social media.

Jean Burgess is Deputy Director of the ARC Centre of Excellence for Creative Industries & Innovation (CCI) and Associate Professor, Digital Media in the Creative Industries Faculty at Queensland University of Technology. She is involved in several research projects that apply computer-assisted methods to the analysis of large-scale social media data. Her books include YouTube: Online Video and Participatory Culture (Polity Press, 2009), Studying Mobile Media: Cultural Technologies, Mobile Communication, and the iPhone (Routledge, 2012) and A Companion to New Media Dynamics (Wiley-Blackwell, 2013). Over the past decade she has worked with a large number of government, industry and community-based organisations, focusing on the uses of social and co-creative media to increase participation, advocacy and engagement.

Darryl Woodford is a Research Fellow in the ARC Centre of Excellence for Creative Industries & Innovation (CCI) at Queensland University of Technology. He has a background in Engineering and Game Studies, including research on the agency of avatars in virtual environments. His current research includes work on social norms and regulation in the video game and gambling industries, and he is leading the development of new digital methods for measuring and evaluating television audience engagement using social media analytics.

Conference Blogging Coming Up

I’m currently on the road again, as part of a trip which has already taken me through Hamburg (for a meeting with our research partners at the Hans-Bredow-Institut) and Göttingen (for the inaugural workshop of our new ATN-DAAD-funded research collaboration with colleagues at the Göttingen Digital Humanities Centre. The latter will focus especially on developing new methods for analysing and visualising social media networks, building on the considerable work we’ve already done in this area – and at the workshop last week we’ve already made good progress towards a few new ideas for what we can do. With my colleagues Jean Burgess and Darryl Woodford I also participated in a public symposium at the GCDH, and I’ll make the slides and audio from our talk available here soon.

Different Forms of Talk on Twitter

It’s been a little quiet again here, as I’ve taken February and March off on Long Service Leave. That’s all about to change, though, because two major new research projects are about to start now – more of these soon.

For the moment, here’s my first conference presentation for 2014, from the Media Talk symposium at Griffith University in Brisbane. I used this to work through the three layers of communication on Twitter which Hallvard Moe and I have identified in our chapter in Twitter and Society, and to provide some examples for how these layers operate in practice.

This is also the first time I’m trying Penxy as a tool for archiving my slides with audio recordings, since Slideshare has made the unfortunate decision to discontinue its slidecasts and remove any audio recordings from its site. Most of my past slidecasts are therefore also on the Penxy site now, and I’ll try to update the existing links to recorded presentations on this site when I get a chance.

Here’s my talk:

Layers of Communication: Forms of Talk on Twitter


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