Hashtag as hybrid forum: The case of #agchatoz
Burgess, Jean, Galloway, Anne, & Sauter, Theresa (2015) Hashtag as hybrid forum: The case of #agchatoz. In Rambukkana, Nathan (Ed.) Hashtag Publics: The Power and Politics of Discursive Networks. Peter Lang, New York, pp. 61-76.
This chapter imports Michel Callon’s model of the ‘hybrid forum’ (Callon et al, 2009, p. 18) into social media research, arguing that certain kinds of hashtag publics can be mapped onto this model. It explores this idea of the hashtag as hybrid forum through the worked example of #agchatoz—a hashtag used as both ‘meetup’ organizer for Australian farmers and other stakeholders in Australian agriculture, and as a topic marker for general discussion of related issues. Applying the principles and techniques of digital methods (Rogers, 2013), we employ a standard suite of analytics to a longitudinal dataset of #agchatoz tweets. The results are used not only to describe various elements and dynamics of this hashtag, but also to experiment with the articulation of such approaches with the theoretical model of the hybrid forum, as well as exploring the ways that controversies animate and transform such forums as part of the emergence and cross-pollination of issue publics.
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