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Research Projects

2016 Publications Round-Up

We’re already deep into February 2017, but I thought I’d finally put together an overview of what I’ve been up to during the past year, at least as far as research outputs are concerned. It’s been a busy year by any measure, with a number of key projects coming to completion; research publications from some of these are still in production, but here’s what’s already come out.

Some Talks in Oslo ahead of AoIR 2016 in Berlin

I’m on my way to Berlin for this year’s Association of Internet Researchers conference, which will be one of our biggest yet – but on my way I’ve also swung by Oslo to visit my colleagues in the Social Media and Agenda-Setting in Election Campaigns (SAC) project which is now coming to its conclusion. While there I gave a couple of invited talks on my recent research – and the slides from those presentations are now available here.

First, I visited Anders Larsson at Westerdals Oslo School of Arts, Communication and Technology, where I outlined my thoughts on what I’ve started to call the second wave of citizen journalism, now taking place through social media. This essentially provides an overview of the key themes in Gatewatching Revisited – the update to my 2005 Gatewatching book which I’m currently writing:

Axel Bruns. “How the Person in the Street Became a Journalist: Social Media and the Second Wave of Citizen Journalism.” Invited presentation at Westerdals Oslo School of Arts, Communication and Technology, Oslo, 27 Sep. 2016.

Call: QUT Creative Industries Faculty PhD Scholarships for 2015 Entry

It’s that time of the year, so we’re now calling for applications from prospective PhD students who are interested in joining an innovative and high-profile research group at Australia’s leading university for media and communication studies, Queensland University of Technology in Brisbane.

I’ve posted the Social Media Research Group’s overall call for applications below, but I also want to call specifically for expressions of interest for the second PhD scholarship associated with my current ARC Future Fellowship project. Drawing on social media data, Hitwise Australia, and Fairfax Digital sources, this project seeks to investigate the patterns of intermedia information flows in the Australian online public sphere, and (in addition to the first PhD student Felix Münch, whose focus is especially on methodological development) this second PhD will use innovative quantitative and qualitative research methods to trace user engagement with major events and topics in Australian public debate over time and across social and mainstream media networks.

PhD students applying for this scholarship will need to possess a detailed understanding of recent events in Australian politics and public life as well as of the Australian media environment. They should also have proven skills in the mixed-methods (quantitative / qualitative) analysis of social media data and other data sources, ideally including a working knowledge of analytical tools including Tableau, Gephi, Excel, etc. Familiarity with the approaches and methods developed by the QUT Social Media Research Group and documented at Mapping Online Publics would be welcome. For further enquiries about this PhD opportunity and its role in the wider Future Fellowship project, please contact me at a.bruns@qut.edu.au.

But in addition to this specific PhD scholarship, my colleagues and I are also interested in other PhD applications for social media-related research in the current QUT scholarship round. Below is our call for applicants, with further information on how to apply:

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.

Busy-ness as Usual

This blog has been somewhat slow again since the last round of conferences, and I'm hoping to do more in the future to change this. In the first place, I'm planning to post more regular updates again as I publish new articles and book chapters (watch out for a round-up of recent work soon, most of which already appear in my list of publications). There are also a number of new research projects which have started this year – and while more detailed updates about the day-to-day work of some of these will appear on Mapping Online Publics and the Website of the QUT Social Media Research Group, I'm planning to flag the most important outcomes from these projects here as well. And as always, updates are also available on Twitter through my own account @snurb_dot_info as well as @socialmediaQUT.

New Projects

Most importantly, I've just commenced my ARC Future Fellowship – a major four-year project which builds on my social media work and connects it with a number of other important data sources which shed light on the way Australian Internet users are engaging with news and current affairs. We'll continue to draw on large Twitter data (as well as, eventually, data from other social networks) which show the patterns of day-to-day activity around current events, and we'll correlate these patterns with data from Experian Hitwise, which track (anonymously and at very large scale) how Australian users search and browse the Web. Further, I'm also going to be able to incorporate some internal server data from Fairfax Digital (including its flagship mastheads Sydney Morning Herald and The Age) to investigate in more depth what articles users read and engage with on these sites.

Around the World in 28 Days (and 14 Papers)

It’s that time of the year again, when I set off for the usual end-of-year round of conferences – and this year has turned out to be an especially busy one. As I write this, I’m already in Toronto for the inaugural workshop of a Canadian-funded, multi-partner research project on Social Media and Campaigning which is led by Greg Elmer of Ryerson University; this comes at an interesting time, of course, with electioneering south of the border in full swing. We’re already tracking the Twitter performance of both campaigns’ key accounts – more on that as it develops.

My next stop is Helsinki, where I’ve been invited to present two guest lectures to the international Masters students. The first of these will be an update of the keynote “Gatekeeping, Gatewatching, Real-Time Feedback: New Challenges for Journalism”, which I presented at the Brazilian Society of Journalism Researchers last year, and addresses the challenges faced by journalism in an always-on, social media-driven environment; the second presents the work which my Mapping Online Publics colleagues and I have done on “Social Media and Crisis Communication”.

Discovery Early Career Researcher Awards: Call for Expressions of Interest

I’m afraid this blog is going through a slow period again as I catch up with a backlog of work. I did want to pass on some information on this exciting postdoc opportunity in Media & Communication at Queensland University of Technology, though: we’ve recently been ranked as the leading media research institution in Australia (“well above world standard”), and we’re now calling for expressions of interest from researchers who are interested in joining our team under the new Discovery Early Career Researcher Award scheme.

More information, and details for the key QUT people to contact, below. On a personal note – I’d be especially interested in postdoc researchers looking to explore aspects of produsage, social media, and online journalism, and I’d be happy to chat to you informally about a potential application before you contact my QUT colleagues.

Call for PhD Applications: ARC Centre of Excellence for Creative Industries and Innovation

It’s that time of the year again: my research centre, the ARC Centre of Excellence for Creative Industries and Innovation (CCI), is calling for applications from prospective PhD students (and while this call focusses on PhDs, Masters and Honours applications are also due around the same time…). Undertaking your PhD at the CCI means you will be working with world class researchers who can offer supervision of the highest standards. Our research activities cover a broad range of emerging issues, themes and projects across the entertainment and creative industries including innovation and policy development; significant project collaborations with Asia; a major project looking at broadband services; mapping the creative industries; IP law; a global cultural futures study and other projects which engage community and industry partners in creative industries from major film studios to the Salvation Army and ‘at-risk’ young people working as media co-creators. visit the CCI Projects Page at http://www.cci.edu.au/projects to find out more about the Centre’s activities. There are a broad range of research opportunities available across the CCI’s member organisations in Australia, and I encourage you to have a look at the Website for the full details – application deadlines vary from university to university. Successful PhD projects would start in early 2011.

For applications to my university – Queensland University of Technology, based in Brisbane, Australia –, the relevant application deadlines are 30 September 2010 for international students, and 15 Oct. 2010 for domestic students.

Overall, I am interested in PhD applications from anyone with a research interest in the broad areas of produsage, Web 2.0, and social media, either in general or with a specific focus on fields and technologies including blogs, citizen journalism, Twitter, Facebook, Wikipedia, social network analysis, government 2.0, or related themes. If any of those themes are of interest to you, please get in touch.

In addition to these broader themes, we’re also calling specifically for expressions of interest for a number of concrete research projects. In my own case, these are related to our research into mapping Australian online publics which will examine interactions across blogs, Twitter, YouTube, and Flickr, which we’re undertaking as part of an ARC Discovery project, and to our work researching our changing media ecologies. For these projects, we’re particularly interested in expressions of interest from potential students who operate in the following areas:

Second Call for PhD Applications: Centre for Creative Industries and Innovation (CCi)

I posted this call for PhD research applications in the ARC Centre of Excellence for Creative Industries and Innovation a couple of weeks ago, but with the avalanche of conference posts that followed it I thought it might be worth repeating the call. Also, I've now added a further research opportunity in an area which I have a particular interest in (and for which I'll be the principal contact): we're very keen to receive applications from potential PhD students interested in exploring future avenues in public broadcasting in collaboration with the Australian ABC.

One key question in this context is the connection between traditional public broadcasting models and the embrace of user-generated content, which the ABC and other public broadcasters have engaged in more or less actively, and this is closely connected to my own research interests in produsage and social media as well as the work we've done at QUT on the future of public broadcasters. So, if anyone reading this is interested, please contact me (and soon - applications for Australian international students close on 30 September, for international Australian students on 9 October)! (Oops - but at least the dates were correct in the information below.)

Overall, too, as I said in the previous call for applications, there are some fantastic research opportunities here - specific areas, and contact details for the various CCi researchers, are listed below:

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