Well, it was about time we refreshed the look of Mapping Online Publics – hope you like it… A few posts on recent activities have been held up while we were working on the redesign, so expect some catch-up articles over the next little while.
First off the rank: with one of our colleagues at the National Cheng Chi University in Taipei, Eugene Liang (whom Jean and I visited in October last year), I’ve just published a new article in First Monday which reviews some options for tracking user activities on Twitter. Our focus here is largely on doing so in the context of crisis communication, but much of what we have to say also translates to other applications.
My contribution to the paper is to outline what we’ve been able to do by using yourTwapperkeeper (and more details on this are all over this Website, of course), while Eugene takes us beyond that approach to discuss the work which he and his colleagues have done in developing a more comprehensive, custom-made platform for tracking Twitter activities at scale. Abstract below:
Axel Bruns and Eugene Liang Yuxian
During the course of several natural disasters in recent years, Twitter has been found to play an important role as an additional medium for many–to–many crisis communication. Emergency services are successfully using Twitter to inform the public about current developments, and are increasingly also attempting to source first–hand situational information from Twitter feeds (such as relevant hashtags). The further study of the uses of Twitter during natural disasters relies on the development of flexible and reliable research infrastructure for tracking and analysing Twitter feeds at scale and in close to real time, however. This article outlines two approaches to the development of such infrastructure: one which builds on the readily available open source platform yourTwapperkeeper to provide a low–cost, simple, and basic solution; and, one which establishes a more powerful and flexible framework by drawing on highly scaleable, state–of–the–art technology.