Crisis Culture Politics Twitter — Snurb, 6 October 2012
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, Jean and I are 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”.

From Helsinki, I’m off to Copenhagen, where Klaus Bruhn Jensen has organised the symposium “Digital Data – Lost, Found, and Made” at the Centre for Communication and Computing. Alongside a whole raft of luminaries from the Association of Internet Researchers community, I’ll present a contribution on “Twitter, Big Data, and the Search for Meaning: Methodology in Progress”. It’s a free event, so come along if you’re in the neighbourhood!

The symposium’s AoIR connections are no accident, because the next stop on this trip is the annual conference of the Association of Internet Researchers, which takes place in Salford in the greater Manchester area this year. Here, I’m involved in four papers, in collaboration with various QUT colleagues:

  • “#Eurovision: Twitter as a Technology of Fandom”, with Tim Highfield and Stephen Harrington;
  • “Sharing the News: Dissemination of Links to Australian News Sites on Twitter”, also with Stephen and Tim;
  • “#auspol, #qldpol, and #wapol: Twitter and the New Australian Political Commentariat”, again with Tim and Stephen; and finally
  • “New Methodologies for Capturing and Working with Publicly Available Twitter Data”, which is a solo contribution to a “Digital Data – Lost, Found, and Made” panel which continues the Copenhagen discussion.

Finally, then, I travel on to Istanbul, where I’ll first participate in a workshop of a Norwegian-funded research project on The Impact of Social Media on Agenda-Setting in Election Campaigns, which is led by Gunn Enli from the University of Oslo. I couldn’t make it in person to the project’s first workshop in June, so I’m very much looking forward to meeting up with everyone in Istanbul.

We’re not meeting there just because it’s Istanbul, though – rather, after the workshop, we’re attending the European Communication Conference ECREA 2012. Here, I’m involved in another four papers with various co-authors:

  • “Analysing Twitter Activity in Crisis Contexts”, with Jean Burgess, in a panel on crisis communication which was organised by Farida Vis;
  • “Political Networks on Twitter: Tweeting the Queensland State Election”, with Tim Highfield and Stephen Harrington and in a panel on social media and elections which was organised through the Norwegian research project;
  • “Tweeting le Tour: Connecting the Tour de France’s Global Audience through Twitter”, also with Tim and Stephen; and
  • “Social Media, Big Data, and the Public Sphere”, in an International Communication Association-sponsored panel organised by Sonia Livingstone.

Phew. In total, I think that’s 14 papers, or one paper on every other day of the trip, on average. Apologies in advance if I end up presenting the wrong paper to the wrong audience! Further updates, conference blogging, and posts of presentations and audio recordings will follow over the course of the month…

About the Author

Dr Axel Bruns leads the QUT Social Media Research Group. He is an Associate Professor in the Creative Industries Faculty at Queensland University of Technology in Brisbane, Australia. Bruns is the author of Blogs, Wikipedia, Second Life and Beyond: From Production to Produsage (2008) and Gatewatching: Collaborative Online News Production (2005), and a co-editor of A Companion to New Media Dynamics and Uses of Blogs (2006). He is a Chief Investigator in the ARC Centre of Excellence for Creative Industries and Innovation. His research Website is at snurb.info, and he tweets as @snurb_dot_info.

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