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Predicting Tweet Sensitivity through Content Analysis

Gothenburg.
The next AoIR 2010 speaker is David Houghton, whose interest is also in Twitter. He starts by pointing to a range of tweets of varying degrees of mundaneness and secrecy, and is interested in examining linguistic differences in them. What threats to personal privacy result from the spread of gossip? How can levels of self-disclosure be measured – in breadth or depth, for example – in order to alert users to when they might be compromising themselves by oversharing?

How do we enable users to go about sharing while protecting their concerns and informing them about potential harms? David collected 250 random tweets from both Twitter and Secret Tweet (which collects tweets with sensitive information, it seems).

Spaces of Public Discourse on Twitter

Gothenburg.
I must admit I missed the 8.20 a.m. sessions this morning – just couldn’t cope with the cold. So, we’re jumping right into the next session at AoIR 2010, which starts with Axel Maireder. He begins by noting the function of Twitter as a medium for public discourse; tweets can reach large audiences especially if retweeted widely (an average of 1000 users for each retweet).

Twitter is used for debate on public issues, of course – and Axel’s study has identified a number of typical themes (education and professional, spare time, everyday life, social relations, mottos and aphorisms, politics and world affairs, media and culture, products and services). Twitter debate is also connected heavily with mainstream news media sources – URLs to mainstream content are widely distributed (and make up some 40% of distributed URLs). This means that Twitter users who distribute such content act as intermediaries between mass media content and their fellow users. Of those URLs, some 60% link to sources which advocate specific points of view.

#ausvotes Twitter Activity during the 2010 Australian Election

Hamburg.
My own paper was next at ECREA 2010. Here’s the presentation – and I also recorded the audio for it, and will add it as soon as I can which is now attached to the slides. As it turned out, one of the other presenters in the session also broadcast the whole event to Justin.tvso go there to see it all in action (my presentation starts around 52 minutes in, and you can also see the other papers on our panel)…

Different Uses for Twitter Hashtags

Hamburg.
The next speaker at ECREA 2010 is Jonathan Hickman, whose interest is in #hashtags on Twitter. Hashtags are a simple way for Twitter users to organise their conversations, by putting the ‘#’ symbol in front of words to make tweets on specific topics more easily searchable (e.g. #iranelection). The hashtag is a form of metadata in that it describes the content of the tweets. This is part of a wider practice of tagging in computer-mediated content; tags are widely used for a wide variety of online materials.

However, there are also problems with this, as these tags are user-generated (and thus examples of folksonomies), and may not necessarily be consistent; this conference, for example, can be found on Twitter under the hashtags #ECC10, #ECC2010, or #ECREA2010… In this, they are different from hierarchically coordinated taxonomies.

Twitter-Based Coverage of the Olympic Games

Hamburg.
The next speaker at ECREA 2010 starts with Jennifer Jones, whose focus is also on Twitter: she was an embedded journalist at the Vancouver Winter Olympics. There is a significant historical connection between the Olympic Games and technology, and new media have been especially prominent in recent years; there has been substantial growth especially in alternative media coverage (by non-accredited journalists and others). In Sydney, there even was an alternative media centre for the Olympics.

Independent media were prominent in Vancouver, too – people set up their own media centres, and printed their own unauthorised media passes, which were eventually tacitly accepted as valid media passes. The more people printed their own passes, the more ‘official’ they became. A number of Twitter lists (official, as well as fan-curated or adapted) were set up to aggregate the various alternative journalists covering the events.

Examining Everyday Uses of Twitter

Hamburg.
The next session at ECREA 2010 is the one I’m in as well – but we start with Stine Lomborg, whose interest is in relationality on Twitter. This build on my concept of produsage, and examines this especially for the case of mundane, ordinary conversational activities. To engage in such communication, Twitter users must establish networks with each other – but such networks are non-symmetric, as followees won’t necessarily always follow back. This creates a particularly interest network structure.

Stine examined the activities of six Danish Twitter users, and captured their tweets and @replies over the course of a lengthy period of time. How does the Twitter network shape the emergent communicative practices on the site; how does an individual user’s network affect their negotiation of topics and purposes of interaction, and what types of relationality do Twitter-based networks facilitate?

Key Events in Australian (Micro-)Blogging during 2010 (ECREA 2010)

ECREA 2010

Key Events in Australian (Micro-)Blogging during 2010

Axel Bruns, Jean Burgess, Thomas Nicolai, and Lars Kirchhoff

  • 15 Oct. 2010 – 3rd European Communications Conference (ECREA 2010)

(This was the original abstract, but our coverage was overtaken by political events...)

News Choices in Covering the Iranian Election

Hamburg.
The next speaker at ECREA 2010 is Max Hänska-Ahy, whose interest is in the use of Twitter and satellite TV in the recent Iranian election and its aftermath. The outcome of the election was highly disputed, of course, with widespread protests; domestic media and other channels of communication were shut down or disrupted by the government. External media sources (BBC World News, CNN, etc.) remained important sources of information during this time, but their satellite channels, too, were disrupted.

Tracing Publics in the Australian Blogosphere: New Methods for International Communication Research (DGMS 2010)

DGMS 2010 (ECREA 2010 Pre-Conference)

Tracing Publics in the Australian Blogosphere: New Methods for International Communication Research

Axel Bruns, Jean Burgess, Lars Kirchhoff, and Thomas Nicolai

  • 12 Oct. 2010 – Doing Global Media Studies (ECREA 2010 Pre-Conference)

In recent years, a number of studies have developed more or less comprehensive maps of a range of national blogospheres: Adamic & Glance (2005) mapped the US political blogosphere against the backdrop of the 2004 presidential election campaigns, Kelly & Etling (2009) mapped the Iranian blogosphere, Linkfluence (2009) mapped the intersections between political bloggers in a number of major European countries in the lead-up to the EU parliament elections. A common feature of these studies was that they presented momentary snapshots of these blogospheres, and often focussed largely on explicitly political blogs. Moving beyond such limitations, it would be interesting to see, for example, how the Iranian blogosphere might have changed in the wake of the bloody conflicts following the country's disputed presidential elections, or how significant a role the discussion of EU politics might have assumed within the space of the overall blogospheres in various European nations.

More on Twitter during the Australian Election Campaign

Over on Fairfax’s National Times opinion site, I’ve now posted a first article examining the use of Twitter during the early election campaign – for the first week of campaigning, excluding the debate last Sunday (which I’ve examined on our network mapping blog Mapping Online Publics, here and here).

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