Audiencing through social media : a brief overview

Woodford, Darryl, Prowd, Katie, & Bruns, Axel (2014) Audiencing through social media : a brief overview. In Australasian Audience Research Symposium, 22 April 2014, UNSW, Sydney, Australia. (Unpublished)

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Notwithstanding the problems with identifying audiences (c.f. Hartley, 1987), nor with sampling them (c.f. Turner, 2005), we contend that by using social media, it is at least possible to gain an understanding of the habits of those who chose to engage with content through social media. In this chapter, we will broadly outline the ways in which networks such as Twitter and Facebook can stand as proxies for audiences in a number of scenarios, and enable content creators, networks and researchers to understand the ways in which audiences come into existence, change over time, and engage with content.

Beginning with the classic audience – television – we will consider the evolution of metrics from baseline volume metrics to the more sophisticated ‘telemetrics’ that are the focus of our current work. We discuss the evolution of these metrics, from principles developed in the field of ‘sabermetrics’, and highlight their effectiveness as both a predictor and a baseline for producers and networks to measure the success of their social media campaigns. Moving beyond the evaluation of the audiences engagement, we then move to consider the ‘audiences’ themselves. Building on Hartley’s argument that audiences are “imagined” constructs (1987, p. 125), we demonstrate the continual shift of Australian television audiences, from episode to episode and series to series, demonstrating through our map of the Australian Twittersphere (Bruns, Burgess & Highfield, 2014) both the variation amongst those who directly engage with television content, and those who are exposed to it through their social media networks. Finally, by exploring overlaps between sporting events (such as the NRL and AFL Grand Finals), reality TV (such as Big Brother, My Kitchen Rules & Biggest Loser), soaps (e.g. Bold & The Beautiful, Home & Away), and current affairs programming (e.g. Morning Television & A Current Affair), we discuss to what extent it is possible to profile and categorize Australian television audiences.

Finally, we move beyond television audiences to consider audiences around social media platforms themselves. Building on our map of the Australian Twittersphere (Bruns, Burgess & Highfield, 2014), and a pool of 5000 active Australian accounts, we discuss the interconnectedness of audiences around particular subjects, and how specific topics spread throughout the Twitter Userbase. Also, by using Twitter as a proxy, we consider the career of a number of popular YouTuber’s, utilizing a method we refer to as Twitter Accession charts (Bruns & Woodford, 2014) to identify the growth curves, and relate them to specific events in the YouTubers career, be that ‘viral’ videos or collaborations, to discuss how audiences form around specific content creators.

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ID Code: 73191
Item Type: Conference Item (Presentation)
Refereed: No
Keywords: Television, Social Media, Twitter, Telemetrics, Sabermetrics
Subjects: Australian and New Zealand Standard Research Classification > LANGUAGES COMMUNICATION AND CULTURE (200000) > COMMUNICATION AND MEDIA STUDIES (200100)
Divisions: Current > Research Centres > ARC Centre of Excellence for Creative Industries and Innovation
Current > QUT Faculties and Divisions > Creative Industries Faculty
Copyright Owner: Copyright 2014 Please consult the authors
Deposited On: 01 Jul 2014 22:33
Last Modified: 03 Jul 2014 06:30

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