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Twitter in e-Participation

The next CeDEM 2011 session starts with a presentation by Peter Mambrey, whose focus is on the potential role of Twitter in e-participation. He begins by noting the expansion of the media ecology and the take-up of new media forms by specific groups in society; this creates new opportunities for political participation and self-empowerment, but also challenges for local administration and government.

There is a rising expectation of service quality, growing demands for local service delivery and expertise, competition between cities for citizens and enterprises, demographic change (with a marked population decline in some areas in Germany, for example), and financial problems in the wake of the global financial crisis. General questions include transparency and input-legitimacy, dialogue and output-legitimacy, collaboration and participation, identity management and public relations, and an erosion of the representative system (also through lobbying).

Some Long-Overdue Updates

Sorry: it’s been a while since I’ve updated this blog. Largely, that’s because I’ve been so busy with our work on the Mapping Online Publics project – see the project blog for all the latest information. Following the various natural disasters we’ve endured – in Australia, New Zealand, and Japan, to begin with –, that work has focussed for the moment especially on the use of social media for crisis communication, with plenty of outcomes already. In particular, this includes our two most recent presentations:

Slides and audio from both presentations are now online here – just follow the links above.

Gatekeeping, Gatewatching, Echtzeitfeedback: Neue Herausforderungen für den Journalismus (University of Vienna 2011)

Gatekeeping, Gatewatching, Echtzeitfeedback: Neue Herausforderungen für den Journalismus

Axel Bruns

  • 9 May 2011 – Guest lecture at the University of Vienna

Wie Blogger und andere unabhängige Kommentatoren im Netz den herkömmlichen Journalismus kritisieren, korrigieren, und anderweitig herausfordern, ist bereits seit Jahren bekannt, aber noch längst nicht von allen Journalisten verinnerlicht worden; noch immer flammen die Feindseligkeiten zwischen dem Medienestablishment und der neuen Generation von Webseiten gelegentlich wieder auf. Das alte Gatekeeping-Monopol der Massenmedien wird dabei durch die neue Praxis des Gatewatching infragegestellt: von einzelnen Bloggern und Communities von Kommentatoren, die zwar selbst nicht viel Neues berichten, dabei aber die Nachrichten und sonstige Informationen offizieller Quellen neu zusammenstellen und bewerten und so einen wichtigen Dienst leisten. Und dies geschieht nun auch noch immer schneller, geradezu in Echtzeit: über neueste soziale Netzwerke, die in Minutenschnelle Nachrichten weiterleiten, kommentieren, hinterfragen, oder widerlegen können, und über zusätzliche Plattformen, die schnelle und effektive Ad-Hoc-Zusammenarbeit möglich machen. Wenn hunderte Freiwilliger innerhalb weniger Tage einen deutschen Minister des schweren Plagiats überführen können, wenn die Welt von Erdbeben und Tsunamis zuerst per Twitter erfährt: wie kommt der Journalismus da noch mit?

Tracking Crises on Twitter: Analysing #qldfloods and #eqnz (EMPA 2011)

EMPA 2011

Tracking Crises on Twitter: Analysing #qldfloods and #eqnz

Axel Bruns

  • 12 Apr. 2011 – Emergency Media and Public Affairs conference, Canberra

Social media platforms including Facebook and Twitter have now emerged as important
additions to the arsenal of crisis communications tools – connecting emergency services
and mainstream media sources with affected citizens on the ground as well as onlookers
from further afield, and functioning also as a backchannel which can be used to send
feedback and requests to the authorities. This paper presents a close analysis of recent
events such as the Queensland floods and the Christchurch earthquake to provide important
insights into the way Twitter was used during these disasters, as well as outlining
approaches to tracking social media activities during future crisis events.

Social Media Use in the Queensland Floods (Eidos 2011)

Eidos 2011

Social Media Use in the Queensland Floods

Axel Bruns, Jean Burgess, Kate Crawford, and Frances Shaw

  • 4 Apr. 2011 – Eidos Institute “Social Media in Times of Crisis” symposium, Brisbane

Some More Presentations to Finish the Year

As 2010 draws to a close, its perhaps appropriate that my last couple of conference presentations for the year take a somewhat retrospective nature, summarising and reflecting on the 2010 Australian federal election, with a particular view on what we’ve learned about the state of Australian journalism in general and the role of Twitter in election coverage and debate in particular. I’ll present both those papers at different conferences in Sydney this Friday (26 November):

Slides for both those presentations are below, and I’ll try and add audio later both with audio.

Election 2010: The View from Twitter (InASA 2010)

InASA ‘Double Vision’ 2010

Election 2010: The View from Twitter

Axel Bruns

  • 26 Nov. 2010 – International Australian Studies Association ‘Double Vision’ conference, Sydney

Though it may not have had a substantial effect on the eventual outcome, Twitter was a highly visible component of the 2010 Australian election coverage. During the campaign, the #ausvotes hashtag alone generated over 400,000 tweets. This paper provides an overview of key trends in Twitter-based discussion of the Australian election.

Twitter as an Arena for Public Debate

The next speaker in our social media mapping panel at AoIR 2010 is Hallvard Moe, whose focus is on Twitter as an arena for public debate in Norway, around the data retention policy debate in that country. Norway is traditionally a social-democratic state with relatively advanced use of ICTs, apparently including some 160,000 Twitter users; this also meant that there was substantial debate about the adoption of the EU data retention directive (for regularly archiving phone and network data).

Hallvard archived tweets on the #dld hashtag using Twapperkeeper, between April and early August 2010, resulting in some 12,000 tweets (though not all relevant tweets in Norway may have used the #dld hashtag, of course). Activity on the topic was spread across the entire time period, at relatively low but persistent levels. There are a number of key peaks, especially around 9 May (the conservative party’s congress); tweets around that day anticipated party decisions as well as commenting on the day’s events.

Mapping Online Publics in Australia

My own paper (with Jean Burgess, Thomas Nicolai, and Lars Kirchhoff) starts the final session of this second day at AoIR 2010. Below is the Powerpoint, and I’ll try to add the audio some time soon the audio is online now, too.


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