Lots of news to share but before we get into that, I’d like to introduce myself as a new member of the team. My name is Caro Jende and I recently came on board as the Project Officer for the Mapping Online Publics project to support Jean and Axel in the organisation and coordination of all things happening ‘back-stage’. When I’m not at the CCI, I currently still hold the position of Marketing Manager at an organisation called Youth Arts Queensland, Queensland’s peak body for children and young people in the arts, but very soon I’ll be venturing out on my own to try my luck as a freelance marketing and communications advisor/consultant.
Enough about me though and back to Mapping Online Publics. As some of you might already know, Jean and Axel (along with fellow QUT researchers Stephen Harrington and Tanya Nitins) recently received funding through the Australian Technology Network (ATN) and the German Academic Exchange Service DAAD – a pretty competitive funding pool – to expand their research activity in this project and work with the University of Düsseldorf and the University of Münster in Germany. As part of this collaboration, we’ll be welcoming a team of two research fellows – Katrin Weller and Cornelius Puschmann – from the Junior Researchers Group "Science and the Internet" at the University of Düsseldorf in Brisbane tomorrow and spend two weeks with them exchanging ideas and discussing issues regarding the various uses of Twitter.
To make the most out of their visit, we’ll open up the discussion to a small group of fellow academics and social media staff at the The World According To Twitter workshop which will be held at QUT next week Tuesday, 28 June. While this is an invitation-only event, you can join the conversation on Wednesday, 29 June when Jean and Axel will be presenting a workshop on Twitter research methodologies as part of the Communities & Technologies conference (paid registration required).
A media release summarising all these activities has recently been published on the QUT Creative Industries website which you’ll find below. If you are one of the participants at either workshop next week, we’re looking forward to meeting you and hearing your thoughts and ideas. Otherwise, check this site again in a couple of weeks time when we’ll be publishing another project update to give you a bit more of an insight into what’s been happening at the Twitter research workshops.
CCI Researchers Lead Innovation in Twitter Research
first published on 9 June 2011 on the News section of the QUT Creative Industries Faculty website on 9 June 2011
Researchers at the ARC Centre of Excellence for Creative Industries and Innovation, based in QUT’s Creative Industries Faculty, have received funding to expand existing research collaborations with German partners at the universities of Düsseldorf and Münster, in two of only eleven projects to be funded by the Australian Technologies Network and German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD) this year.
The projects are led by Assoc. Prof. Axel Bruns and Dr. Jean Burgess and include fellow Creative Industries researchers Dr. Tanya Nitins and Dr. Stephen Harrington.
The two projects will expand the CCI’s capacity for advanced research into the uses of Twitter – a rapidly evolving social media platform which was originally built around everyday chatter and social networking but which proved crucial during recent natural disasters such as the Queensland floods and Christchurch earthquake. Twitter is now also used widely in areas as diverse as political debate and activism, media fandom (for example during Masterchef and the ABC’s Q&A) and brand communication.
"Our research to date indicates that there are now over 250,000 active Australian Twitter accounts," Assoc. Prof. Bruns says, "and that number continues to rise steadily. And with this growth in users we see a growth in uses and applications for the service. What we are studying is just how people are using Twitter, and how relevant stakeholders may be able to engage with that active userbase."
"But Twitter is a new and rapidly developing space, and around the world researchers are only now beginning to develop the tools and methods to study it. We’re increasingly dealing with very large volumes of data that need to be processed in close to real time. Through our projects, we will be able to develop more advanced research tools – eventually, we hope to be able to comprehensively track Australian Twitter use on a real-time basis."
Dr. Burgess adds, "These more comprehensive methods will also allow us to move beyond just studying Twitter in itself. We aim to use social media analysis to help understand far broader cultural and social trends around specific issues; from environmental politics to multiculturalism to popular culture and sport."
As a first step in the process, Bruns and Burgess are planning a series of workshops in Australia and Germany, kicking off with a public researchers’ meeting on 28 June and a methods workshop as part of the Communities & Technologies conference on 29 June, both in Brisbane. A further workshop, on interdisciplinary approaches to Twitter analysis, will be held in Düsseldorf on 14-15 September.
"The ATN-DAAD projects enable us to work with leading German social media researchers from the humanities and social sciences, informatics, and business informatics, providing excellent opportunities for further interdisciplinary work. That both of our project applications were accepted for funding, alongside only nine others in a very competitive field, demonstrates the quality and international standing of our research team."
More information about the research conducted by the QUT team can be found at their project Website http://mappingonlinepublics.net/. More information about the CCI is available at http://cci.edu.au/.