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Blogs and Blogging

Some Recent and Upcoming Work

When this site goes quiet, it’s usually because work is exceptionally busy. My apologies for the long silence since the launch of our major collection A Companion to New Media Dynamics – a range of projects, variously relating to the uses of social media in crisis communication, of Twitter in a number of national elections, of social media as a second-screen backchannel to televised events, and of ‘big data’ in researching online issue publics, have kept me occupied for the past eight months or so.

Now, I’m about to head off to Denver for the annual Association of Internet Researchers conference and on to a number of other events, and you can expect the usual bout of live blogging from these conferences – but before I do so, here’s a quick update of some of the major publications and papers I’ve completed during the past few months. For some more frequent updates on the work of my colleagues and me, you can also follow our updates at Mapping Online Publics and the site of the QUT Social Media Research Group, of course. On the SMRG site, we’ve also posted a list of the presentations we’ll be making at AoIR and beyond – hope to see you there!

A Final 2012 Publications Round-Up

As we’re hurtling down the last few hours towards 2013, it seems like a good idea to take stock of what was an incredibly busy 2012. Here, then, is a round-up of all (I think) of my publications and presentations for the year, organised into loose thematic categories. In all, and with my various collaborators from the ARC Centre of Excellence for Creative Industries and Innovation and beyond, I seem to have generated some 4 book chapters, 12 journal articles, 22 conference presentations and one major report – and that’s not counting various articles in The Guardian, The Conversation, and other media outlets. There’s also a few more articles still in the pipeline – but given today’s date, I suspect they’ll end up counting towards 2013 rather than 2012…

 

Social Media Research Methods

One major component of our Mapping Online Publics work for this year has been the further development of our social media research approaches, especially as far as Twitter research is concerned. A number of my publications have dealt with the practical aspects of this work:

Australian Political Discussion on Twitter

The next session at AoIR 2012 starts with a paper by my colleague Tim Highfield that Stephen Harrington and I contributed to as well – he's focussing on Australian politics on Twitter. (Slides and audio to follow.) Here are the slides and audio; my notes on the presentation are below.

Twitter and the Media: Methods, ATNIX, Citizen Journalism, and the Olympics

Here are some more updates on my recent adventures in the world of Twitter research. First, I’m very happy to report that a new chapter on the impact of Twitter on the long-standing melée between industrial and citizen journalism has now been published. In the article, co-written with my CCI colleague Tim Highfield, we explore how the emergence of Twitter as a middle ground between the branded spaces of news Websites and citizen journalist blogs and other sites complicates the previously somewhat more obvious battle lines between the two sides – extending a process of, if not convergence then at least increasing interconnection, which has been evident for some time (except for the last remaining cold warriors of the blog wars).

The article has been published in Produsing Theory in a Digital World, edited by Rebecca Ann Lind – congratulations on what looks like a very interesting volume. (And on a personal note, it’s also very gratifying to see yet another colleague take up the produsage idea and do interesting things with it, of course.)

Axel Bruns and Tim Highfield. “Blogs, Twitter, and Breaking News: The Produsage of Citizen Journalism.” In Rebecca Ann Lind, ed., Produsing Theory in a Digital World: The Intersection of Audiences and Production. New York: Peter Lang, 2012.

New Publications on Blogs and Twitter

A couple more new publications before I head off overseas again (mainly for research workshops, but I’ll also take in the Digital Humanities conference in Hamburg and the Conference on Science and the Internet in Düsseldorf):

Tim Highfield and Axel Bruns. “Confrontation and Cooptation: A Brief History of Australian Political Blogs.Media International Australia 143 (2012): 89-98.

This article in a special issue of Media International Australia on the history of the Internet in Australia, edited by Gerard Goggin and Jock Given, reviews the development of the Australian political blogosphere, from the earlier ‘blog wars’ especially around the 2007 election to the increasing incorporation of leading blogs and bloggers into mainstream media stables.

Stephen Harrington, Tim Highfield and Axel Bruns. “More than a Backchannel: Twitter and Television.” In José Manuel Noguera, ed., Audience Interactivity and Participation. Brussels: COST Action Transforming Audiences, Transforming Societies, 2012. 13-17.

A very brief introduction to our current thinking on the role of Twitter in relation to television. We outline a number of dimensions to this relationship, and point to key areas for further research and development.

New Presentations and Publications on Twitter and Blog Research

Time for another quick news roundup. Following on from the ANZDMC 2012 conference in Brisbane, where Jean Burgess and I presented our research into the use of Twitter during the 2010/11 Christchurch earthquakes, there were another few follow-up presentations of our research on social media and crisis communication.

First, I flew down to Melbourne to run a workshop on social media and disaster resilience together with Chris Fisher from the Queensland state Department for Community Safety, as part of the Disaster Resilient Communities conference. I’ve now published my two presentations from the workshop (slides + audio); they’re both online here.

The Personal Brand of the Archaeological Researcher

Canberra.
The next speaker in this DHA 2012 session is Alice Gorman, whose focus is on the use of social media to communicate archaeological research. Archaeology remains poorly understood; popular portrayals of the discipline, from Indiana Jones to Time Team, don’t necessarily have much to do with actual practices in the field.

Alice’s interest is in space archaeology (from earth-bound technological artefacts to space junk), and in thus protecting our cultural heritage; under the moniker ‘Dr Space Junk’, she’s been sharing her work through a blog and a presence on Twitter.

Three Challenges for Journalism in the Social Media Age

Rio de Janeiro.
My own keynote presentation started the second day of SBPJor. Powerpoint and audio are below; the full paper (which attacks the topic from a slightly different angle, but makes much the same points) is also online.

My sincere thanks to Carlos Franciscato and the SBPJor organisation for the invitation to speak at the conference; it’s been great to meet some of the many Brazilian journalism researchers whose work I’ve been aware of for some time now. I’m sorry that because of the language barrier I’ve not been able to participate more fully in the conference itself, but I hope my contribution has been useful – some good discussion in question time, certainly!

Methods for Tracking Viral Video Dissemination across the U.S. Blogosphere

Seattle.
The final speaker in this session at AoIR 2011 is Shawn Walker, whose interest is in the viral diffusion of information. He focusses here on the viral diffusion of videos during the last U.S. presidential election. Such diffusion addresses the dynamics of viral information flows online; videos sometimes managed to generate some millions of views in a very short time. Shawn’s project compared the diffusion of a number of videos across the blogosphere over the course of a year and a half.

How is this done methodologically? How can relevant data be gathered and analysed? Shawn generated data for some 125 videos across 10,000 blogs; this involves substantial data scraping and capturing, as well as (hand-)coding and analysing data. Extracting data on videos from YouTube is far from easy, and it’s impossible to predict which videos will go viral; instead, the project used a tool called Viral Video Chart to determine the top viral election videos, as well as exploring YouTube manually to identify different versions and mashups of the same video. Shawn also used paid access to viewing data provided by TubeMogul – which was not always comprehensive or entirely accurate, however.

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