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Four New Chapters on the Challenges of Doing Twitter Research

One more post before I head home from the AoIR 2015 conference in Phoenix: during the conference, I also received my author’s copy of Hashtag Publics, an excellent new collection edited by Nathan Rambukkana. In this collection, Jean Burgess and I published an updated version of our paper from the ECPR conference in Reykjavík, which conceptualises (some) hashtag communities as ad hoc publics – and Theresa Sauter and I also have a chapter in the book that explores the #auspol hashtag for Australian politics.

Axel Bruns and Jean Burgess. “Twitter Hashtags from Ad Hoc to Calculated Publics.” In Hashtag Publics: The Power and Politics of Discursive Networks, ed. Nathan Rambukkana. New York: Peter Lang, 2015. 13-28.

Theresa Sauter and Axel Bruns. “#auspol: The Hashtag as Community, Event, and Material Object for Engaging with Australian Politics.” In Hashtag Publics: The Power and Politics of Discursive Networks, ed. Nathan Rambukkana. New York: Peter Lang, 2015. 47-60.

Young Estonians' Everyday Political Uses of Social Media

The next AoIR 2015 speaker is Katrin Tiidenberg, whose focus is on young Estonians' social media use. European electoral turnout has been on a steady decline, especially amongst young people, but some forms of non-institutional political participation are on the rise; young people's lives have changed considerably over past decades, and this may have given greater emphasis to everyday political activities over formal political participation.

Understanding the Uses of Political Bots

The final day of AoIR 2015 has dawned, and it begins with a paper by Samuel Woolley; his interest is in political bots. Bots are software tools that automate human tasks on the Web; political bots, then, are social bots that engage with human users, largely through social media, to promote specific political causes.

When Data Are Compromised by Politics

The next speaker at AoIR 2015 is Joanna Redden, another contributor to the Compromised Data: From Social Media to Big Data collection. She focusses especially on how data are being used by governments, and how this impacts particularly on issues of poverty and inequality. Her work is based on interviews with public servants and consultants in Canada, and builds a picture of how and where data are being used in the government.

Media Usage and Political Participation in Germany

The next AoIR 2015 speaker is Anna Sophia Kümpel, whose interest is in news usage patterns and their effects on political participatory behaviours. Mass media remain identified as a crucial determinant of political participatory behaviour, though their exact effects on participation remain disputed. One new factor which emerges in addition to this in more recent times is the question of which devices are being used.

Phases of Social Media Adoption in Italian Politics

The final presenter in this AoIR 2015 session is Luca Rossi, who shifts our attention to Italian politics. His interest moves beyond elections, too, as elections represent a very specific political moment. Internet and social media use in Italy is still relatively limited – in 2012, only 62% of the population were online, and the main source of information remains television.

Social Media Messaging Types by US Gubernatorial Candidates

Up next in this AoIR 2015 session is AoIR president Jenny Stromer-Galley, whose focus is on the social media use of US gubernatorial candidates. Their tweeting activities are linked of course to the very lengthy US electoral process from surfacing candidates through primaries and nominating conventions to the elections themselves.


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