Identifying the Events That Connect Social Media Users : Charting Follower Accession on Twitter

Bruns, Axel & Woodford, Darryl (2013) Identifying the Events That Connect Social Media Users : Charting Follower Accession on Twitter. In SAGE Research Methods Cases. Sage, London.

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Abstract

Twitter is the focus of much research attention, both in traditional academic circles and in commercial market and media research, as analytics give increasing insight into the performance of the platform in areas as diverse as political communication, crisis management, television audiencing and other industries. While methods for tracking Twitter keywords and hashtags have developed apace and are well documented, the make-up of the Twitter user base and its evolution over time have been less understood to date. Recent research efforts have taken advantage of functionality provided by Twitter's Application Programming Interface to develop methodologies to extract information that allows us to understand the growth of Twitter, its geographic spread and the processes by which particular Twitter users have attracted followers. From politicians to sporting teams, and from YouTube personalities to reality television stars, this technique enables us to gain an understanding of what prompts users to follow others on Twitter. This article outlines how we came upon this approach, describes the method we adopted to produce accession graphs and discusses their use in Twitter research. It also addresses the wider ethical implications of social network analytics, particularly in the context of a detailed study of the Twitter user base.

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ID Code: 69586
Item Type: Book Chapter
Keywords: big data, follower accession, public communication, social media, Twitter
DOI: 10.4135/978144627305013516710
ISBN: 9781446273050
Subjects: Australian and New Zealand Standard Research Classification > LANGUAGES COMMUNICATION AND CULTURE (200000) > COMMUNICATION AND MEDIA STUDIES (200100) > Communication Studies (200101)
Australian and New Zealand Standard Research Classification > LANGUAGES COMMUNICATION AND CULTURE (200000) > COMMUNICATION AND MEDIA STUDIES (200100) > Communication Technology and Digital Media Studies (200102)
Australian and New Zealand Standard Research Classification > LANGUAGES COMMUNICATION AND CULTURE (200000) > COMMUNICATION AND MEDIA STUDIES (200100) > Media Studies (200104)
Divisions: Current > Research Centres > ARC Centre of Excellence for Creative Industries and Innovation
Current > QUT Faculties and Divisions > Creative Industries Faculty
Current > Schools > School of Media, Entertainment & Creative Arts
Copyright Owner: Copyright 2013 SAGE Research Methods
Deposited On: 01 Apr 2014 00:03
Last Modified: 28 Aug 2016 15:37

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